Using Capitals

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The need to capitalize the first letter of a word is sometimes obvious but not always. As the example below shows, the first letter in the following should be capitalized: the first word in a sentence, any proper noun (including the specific names of people or places), and the word “I” . For example,

There were no reasons I could see for Angela wanting to leave Paisley.

Not Always Obvious

Sometimes though whether to use a capital letter is not so obvious. This includes when words are used as specific names or titles as opposed to when they are used as common nouns. For example,

God Almighty

Whatever god you worship

I have an uncle, I call him Uncle Kenneth.

My father’s name is Peter but I usually call him Father.

The New York governor is known as Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Other Places to Use Capitals

The examples below are just some of the other places that require the use of capital letters.

Adjectives Relating to a Country

I met Dutch, French, and German tourists while in Edinburgh.


My favourite season is spring.

The Spring Semester is the final one of the college’s academic year.

Geographic Areas

Even though Scotland is further north, the north of England is often referred to as the North.

Cochrane is a town to the west of Calgary

The part of Calgary that gets most snow is Northwest Calgary.

Note: Whether a geographic area has its own identity often depends on opinion.

Notable Events

The Great Depression was in the first half of the twentieth century.