Capitalization and Punctuation

Rules in Capitalization

1. Capitalize the first word in a sentence.

2. Capitalize the names and nicknames of people.

3. Capitalize geographic names. Indian Ocean, Hawaii, Empire State Building

4. Capitalize the pronoun I.

5. Capitalize the names of days and months. Tuesday, October

6. Capitalize the names of national, religious, and local holidays. Memorial Day, Easter, Founder’s Day, Christmas

7. Capitalize proper adjectives. French, Chinese

8. Capitalize titles used with names. General Bradshaw, Mrs. Rima

9. Capitalize the first word in the greeting or closing of a letter. Dear friends, Yours truly

10. Capitalize the first, last, and all the main words in the title of a book, movie, song, magazine, play, newspaper, or television show. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone , “The National Anthem”

11. Capitalize the names of organizations, associations, or teams and their members. American Red Cross, Parent-Teacher Association

12. Capitalize historical events, documents, and periods of time. Boston Tea Party, Declaration of Independence, Stone Age (Civil War, Middle Ages, Medal of Honor)

13. Capitalize initials or abbreviations that stand for names and also abbreviations of titles and organizations. (Dallas, Texas, Fulton County, Africa, America, AR, TX)

14. Capitalize the first word of a quoted sentence. He said, ’I go to college daily.’ She said, ’My brother will come here tomorrow.’ The man said, ’I do not take tea’.

15. Do not capitalize names of seasons. Love autumn colors and spring flowers. Philippines have summer and rainy seasons.

16. Capitalize the names of avenues, streets, roads, highways, routes, and post offices boxes. (Main Street, Dhaka Road, Highway 89, Rt. 1 Box 2, P.O. Box 45)

17. Capitalize the names of lakes, rivers, oceans, mountain ranges, deserts, parks, stars, planets, and constellations.

18. Capitalize the names of schools and specific school courses. (Rotary High School, Mathematics II, World History)

19. Capitalize North, South, East and West when they refer to sections of the country. (up North, live in the East, out West)

20. Capitalize names of pets, companies, buildings, ships, planes, space ships, things, products, organizations, proper adjectives: (Spot Tweedy Bird etc, Campbell’s soup, Kelly’s chili Ford cars, Empire State Building, Titanic, The Big Tire Co. etc.)

Rules on Punctuation

1. Comma (,)

a. Use commas to separate independent clauses in a sentence.

Example: The game was over, but the crowd refused to leave. Yesterday was her brother’s birthday, so she took him out to dinner.

b. Use commas after introductory words, phrases, or clauses that come before the main clause.

Examples: While I was eating, the cat scratched at the door.  If you are ill, you ought to see a doctor.

c. Use a pair of commas to separate an aside from the main body of the sentence.

Example: John and Mim, the couple from next door, are coming for dinner tonight.

d. Use commas to set off all geographical names, items in dates (except the month and day), addresses (except the street number and name), and titles in names.

e. Use a comma to shift between the main discourse and a quotation.

Example: I said without emotion, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” “I was able,” she answered, “To complete the assignment.”

2. Period (.)

a. The primary use of a period is to end a sentence.

Example: It is very important for your professional growth.

b. Its second important use is for abbreviations.

Examples: M.A., Mr. Jasim was happy to see his wife.

3. Question Mark (?)

It goes at the end of a sentence which is a question.

Examples: What can you do for the company? How can you be an asset? Are youhappy?

4. Exclamation Point (!)

This is used in ending extreme emotions expressed in a sentence.

Example: Ouch! Fire! Fire!

5. Quotation marks (“ ”)

a. Quotation marks are used to quote another person’s words exactly, whether they be spoken, or written.

Examples: Jitu said, “We are going shopping.”  Nitu said, “I have done it.”

b. Quotation marks are used to denote irony or sarcasm, or to note something unusual about it.

Example: The great march of “progress” has left millions impoverished and hungry.

6. Colon (:)

a. Colon is used after a complete statement in order to introduce one or more directly related ideas, such as a series of directions, a list, or a quotation or other comment illustrating or explaining the statement.

Example: The daily newspaper contains four sections: news, sports, entertainment, and classified ads.

b. Colon is used to separate chapter and verse from the bible or to separate hours, minutes, and seconds

Example: John 1:212. 09:25:12

7. Semicolon (;)

a. Use a semicolon to join related independent clauses in compound sentences.

Example: Jim worked hard to earn his degree; consequently, he was certain to achieve a distinction. Jane overslept by three hours; she was going to be late for work again.

b. Used to separate items in a series if the elements of the series already include commas.

8. Apostrophe (’)

a. to form possessives of nouns.    

Example: the boy’s hat. three day’s journey

b. to show the omission of letters.

Example: He’ll go = He will go. could’ve = could have

c. to form plurals.                         

Example: Mind your p’s and q’s.

9. Parentheses ( )

Occasionally and sparingly used for extra, nonessential material included in a sentence.

10. Hyphen or dash (-)

a. Use a hyphen to join two or more words serving as a single adjective before a noun.

Example: chocolate-covered peanuts, Two-storey house

b. Use a hyphen with compound numbers.

Example: Forty-five, Sixty-two

c. Use a hyphen with the prefixes ex- (meaning former), self-, all-; with the suffix -elect; between a prefix and a capitalized word; and with figures or letters.

Example: ex-husband, T-shirt

d. Use the dash to emphasize a point or to set off an explanatory comment; but don’t overuse dashes, or they will lose their impact; typically represented on a computer by two hyphens with no spaces before, after, or between the hyphens.

Example: To some of you, my proposals may seem radical – even revolutionary.

e. Used for an appositive phrase that already includes commas.

Example: The boys–Jim, John, and Jamal–left the party early.

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