How to Check My Capitalization

The rules of capitalization can be tricky and confusing. Even the best writers need reminders of the rules now and then. The good news is you don’t have to review all your grammar lessons to understand the basics. Whenever your write a letter to a friend or a paper for a class, remember to check your capitalization.

Step 1

Capitalize the first word of sentences, quotes and lines of poetry.

Step 2

Check proper nouns. Names of people, groups, locations, buildings and events begin with capital letters. Also, capitalize words derived from proper nouns. Examples include: Theodore Roosevelt, Christians, Australia, Eiffel Tower, American Revolution and Brazilian.

Step 3

Capitalize books, movies, magazines, newspapers, radio programs, televisions shows, poems, plays and specific course titles. You do not need to capitalize articles such as “a, an, the” and prepositions such as “but, or, for.” Examples: "A Tale of Two Cities," "Pride and Prejudice," "This American Life," and "Creative Writing 101."

Step 4

Capitalize any title used as a direct address such as, “Will you show me that math problem again, Teacher?” Additionally, capitalize a person’s title when it precedes his name, such as “Director Gomez.”

Step 5

Highlight headings. Begin words in outlines, letter salutations and closings with capitalized letters.

Step 6

Check the calendar. Days of the week, months of the year, and holidays are all capitalized. Seasons are not.

Step 7

Point out directions. Capitalize directions and points on a compass only when they refer to a region. Example: "Washington is located in the Northwest."

Step 8

Capitalize after a colon. This rule only applies when two or more sentences follow the colon.

For example, “A good place to start cleaning up your prose is the beginning: check your capitalization” versus “A good place to start cleaning up your prose is the beginning: Checking your capitalization. Next, check your punctuation.”