Capitalize that!

Sreedhar Mandyam

smiling girl-resized-opt-f

Unlike Indian languages, English has got two cases for its script – uppercase and lowercase. The upper case is also referred to as Capital letters. Some minor movements had started at various times to just use the lower case letters but such movements fizzled out and the two cases system is going to stay and you better get to know when to capitalize a letter if you are going to write any exams or formal stuff in your life.

  1. Capitalization is done at the beginning of a sentence. This is the most obvious one. All new sentences should begin with an uppercase letter. Even if the sentence is of a single word or a single letter, it must be in uppercase. The only exception is that a sentence within a sentence if it is enclosed in brackets, does not start in the uppercase.
    Example: When you are coming tomorrow (don’t forget to), please bring that book.
    Some seemingly incomplete sentences should also start with capitalization: Opening greetings of letters(Dear sir, Dear ____, or closing lines of a letter (Yours sincerely, Faithfully etc). The first letter inside a quote is capitalized – “Come here” even if the quotes are part of a sentence
  2. The personal pronoun I must always be capitalized in all contexts – whether it comes in the beginning, middle or the end of the sentence.
  3. All proper nouns should be capitalized – names of people (every word), places, names of subjects should not be capitalize except for names of languages, cultures and religions (French, Sanskrit, geography, history, Hinduism), book titles (Mahabharata), titles given to people (President, Chairman), supernatural figures (Gods, Angels, Devils), celestial bodies, days of the week, month but not seasons, names of religions, race, languages and brand names. Adjectives derived from proper nouns should also be in the uppercase – Indian, Chinese etc.

A note on etiquette: Since we have two cases, writing a complete sentence in uppercase is not regarded as proper especially in the online world. When you write a complete sentence in uppercase in online forums, websites, chats, text messages etc, it is considered equivalent to shouting and is regarded as rude behaviour.