Capitalization - Step 7 – Proof

7 Steps to Better Writing - Charles Maxwell 2020

Step 7 – Proof

Typically, you will use capital letters for:

· The first word of sentences and quoted sentences.

· Proper nouns, which include names for specific persons, organizations, and places.

· Abbreviations of words that are capitalized, such as US, UK, EPA, IRS, GM, Mr., Mrs., Ms., but not abbreviations of words that normally are not capitalized, such as ft (feet), mm (millimeters), mph (miles per hour), e.g. (exempli gratia, for example).

· The pronoun I and all contractions that contain it, such as I’m and I’ll.

· Creative works: books, short stories, poems, plays, songs, record albums, movies, CDs, DVDs, art works, non-common games, and courses of instruction. Only capitalize articles (a, an, the), conjunctions (and, or, but), and short prepositions if they are the first word of a title, such as A Man for All Seasons or The Good Earth.

· Important events and eras, such as Christmas, Early Medieval Period, Paleozoic Era.

· The words President and Prime Minister when referring to a specific chief government leader.

· Titles that precede proper names, such as Congresswoman Pelosi, Senator Goldwater, General Grant.

There is no need to capitalize professional titles. For example: vice-president, general manager, sales representative.

Some style guides and editorial policies call for capitalizing all names, pronouns, and synonyms for God, such as Master, Savior, Redeemer, etc. This convention was nearly universal in the 19th Century and early 20th Century, but the current trend is to use less capitalization for pronouns and synonyms of deity.

Capitalize only those words that truly need capitalization. There is a tendency in American business to capitalize more words than necessary. Generally, this reduces reading speed, and that reduced reading speed signals to the brain that the material is more difficult to comprehend. Therefore, to keep your readers reading quickly, minimize capitalized words, while still capitalizing the words that require it.

Science and engineering have standards for capitalizing scientific and engineering units. The most common standard is the International System of Units (SI). A description is at:

The US Government Printing Office Style Manual ( is another useful guide to capitalization.

Last of all, AVOID ALL CAPITALS, even for document titles or headings. Using all capitals dramatically slows reading and suggests the writer is SHOUTING.