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What are the rules for capitalization?

The rules of capitalization are quite extensive and depend somewhat on the context in which the words are used. The basic rules are to capitalize:

  • The first word of a sentence
  • Names of the days of the week, months of the year
  • The pronoun I
  • Names, including initials, of individuals
  • Titles which precede names
  • All names of holidays (excluding any prepositions)
  • The first word and all nouns in a salutation
  • The first word in the complimentary closing of a letter
  • Family relationship names when they precede a name or are used in place of person's name, especially in direct address
  • All words in the names of specific organizations and agencies excluding prepositions, conjunctions, and articles
  • Names of languages
  • Names of definite sections of a country or the world
  • Names of nationalities
  • Names of religions and deities
  • Adjectives formed from names of geographical locations, languages, races, nationalities, and religions
  • The first word and all the words in titles of books, articles, works of art, etc., excluding short prepositions, conjunctions, and articles
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