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Language Arts: Capitalization - Tutorial
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A Brief Look at Capitalization
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Do not capitalize geographic locations when used to describe a place.

John lives in northeastern Wyoming.

Here northeastern is used as an adjective to describe Wyoming and
is not capitalized. 
 
Note:  When the geographical location is a part of its proper name, it is capitalized. 

I visit North Dakota in the summers. 

When giving directions, do not capitalize locations.

Fred drove two miles north, and then he drove four miles east.

Jenna lives on the south side of town.

Note: South Side (upper case) and south side (lower case) can often be confusing.

Here's a nice way to remember both.

South Side is a proper name that refers to a specific or exact location.

    Henry has an ice cream shop in South Side Chicago.

The term south side does not name a specific or exact location.  It just gives a general description of the area.

    The bowling alley on the south side of town has been closed for years.
   
This section will cover the fundamentals and rules for using capitalization.
What is your name?
Which city and state would you like to visit?
What is your favorite soft drink?
What is the most interesting movie you've ever seen?
What is the name of your favorite song?
When to Use Capitalization
The following are rules for when to use capitalization.
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Capitalize the word "I" and the proper names of people.

I am going to the park.

Jenn and Megan are best friends.  
Capitalize the first word in a sentence or a direct quotation.

The sun is shining. 

Fred said, "Please pass the rolls."
Capitalize the days of the week.

Our school is visiting the zoo on Friday. 
Capitalize the months of the year.

Marianne's birthday is in March. 
Capitalize holidays.

Nora is preparing a big Thanksgiving dinner for her guests.
Capitalize proper names of places.

Henry works at Prime Source Insurance. 

Andi goes to South Ridge High School.
Capitalize proper names of consumer products.

Bob's favorite brand of ketchup is Heinz.  
 
Refer to the Answer Key in the back of your textbook.
Capitalize cities and states.

Marcia lives in Atlanta, Georgia.  
Capitalize a person's title when it appears in front of their name.

The name on the door read Professor Howard Martin.

Cara is going to visit Aunt Lola and Uncle Nick this weekend.
Capitalize names of specific words that come from specific places.

Sean wants to be an English Historical Fiction author.
Capitalize names of historic events and documents.

The Revolutionary War changed our nation. 

The Declaration of Independence was signed on August 2, 1776.  
Capitalize names of book titles, magazines, articles, television shows, movies, songs, poems, essays, and other such works.

Megan's report was written on a book called Violets in the Spring.

Note:  Only the main words of the title are capitalized.

Prepositions in titles with more than five letters are capitalized.

Sam is reading The House Beside the Lake.
Capitalize names of organizations, political groups, unions, clubs,
and other such groups.

Democrats and Republicans are two major political parties. 

Josh is a member of the Boy Scouts.
Capitalization is used to help us write sentences. However, capitalizing the first letter of every sentence is just the beginning.  There are many times when capitalization can occur in a sentence. 
Capitalize the opening and closing of a letter.

Dear Mr. Jamison:

Yours truly,
Capitalize names of Geographic locations.

We drove down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Dave lived in the South for twelve years. 

Here the South is used as a section or region.  It is capitalized.

Descriptive terms for definite regions, location, or geographic features should be capitalized.

Note:  When the name is a general noun, it should not be capitalized.

We studied gulfs, rivers, and lagoons in geography.

If the appears in front of gulf, it is more than likely referring to a specific gulf and should be capitalized.

The article was about the oil crisis in the Gulf.
Capitalize names of races, nations, and nationalities.

We are studying Asian customs. 
      
Rian's family moved to Belgium. 

We are having an authentic Italian dinner. 
Capitalize languages.

Holly speaks Russian and Mandarin very well.              
Capitalize specific school courses.

Angela enjoys Introduction to Computer Analysis more than Accounting 101.   

General courses, such as geography, algebra, and chemistry are not capitalized when they appear in a sentence.
        
When Not to Use Capitalization
Do not capitalize general geographic terms.
 
The city lights are beautiful at night. 

Frank dreams of crossing the desert in a dune buggy. 
Do not capitalize names of seasons unless they are part of a specific event or place.
  
Martin's birthday is in the spring

Frank is going to summer school. 


When a season is part of the name of a place or title, it is capitalized.

He lives on Summer Valley Road. 
Do not capitalize names that show family relationships.

Richard's mother is coming to visit this weekend. 

My grandpa is buying a new car.

When the name of the relationship comes after a possessive word, the name is not capitalized.

However, when the name of the relationship stands alone, it is capitalized.

Mom and Dad are coming for a visit. 
Just for Practice

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