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Chapter 34. Capitalization rules > Basic capitalization rules

Basic capitalization rules

  • Every sentence should begin with a capital letter.

  • Proper nouns and the first letter of the first word in a direct quotation should be capitalized.

  • The first and last words in the salutation of a letter and the first word in the complimentary close should be capitalized: “Dear Ma’am,” “Dear friend of Mine,” and “Sincerely yours.”

  • The first word of a direct quotation that is a complete sentence is always capitalized: “John said, “I’ll wait here.”

  • The first word of a statement after a colon is capitalized if it is a formal rule, a direct quotation, or if it is introduced by a single word: “Remember: Do not touch the ball with your hands.”

  • Do not capitalize the terms “north,” “east,” “northwest,” and other points of the compass when they indicate direction or location: “The new highway runs north and south.”


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