Capital letters

A capital (or ‘upper case’) letter is used to mark the beginning of a sentence.

  • When I was 20, I dropped out of university and became a model.

Capital letters are also used for the first letter in proper nouns. These include:

  • people’s names
Jenny ForbesWilliam Davidson
  • days of the week
  • months of the year
  • public holidays
ChristmasYom Kippur
  • nationalities
  • languages
  • geographical locations
AustraliaLoch Ness
Mount EverestThe Mediterranean Sea
  • company names
DysonHarper Collins
  • religions

Capital letters are also used for the first letter in titles of books, magazines, newspapers, TV shows, films, etc. Where there are several words, a capital letter is usually used for all the main content words in the title (i.e. not the prepositions or the determiners – unless they are the first word in the title).

The TimesHello!
Twelfth NightThe Secret Garden
NewsnightMamma Mia!

At the beginning of a sentence

Use a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence:

The museum has huge potential. It will be a great boost to the area and we are really excited about it.

In the titles of books, films, organizations, etc.

Use a capital letter in the titles of books and other publications, films, organizations, special days, etc. In such cases, you need a capital letter for all the main words but not for the connecting words such as aantheorand, etc.:

Pride and Prejudice

Christmas Day

the Houses of Parliament.

In abbreviations

If you’re using the first letter of the abbreviated words, every letter should be a capital, e.g.:

BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)

USA (United States of America)

MP (Member of Parliament)

People often don’t use capital letters when they’re writing emails or other informal messages, but it’s important to use them in formal writing.

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