Capitalization: When To Use It

Ah, those pesky capital letters. Just when do you use them?
The answer seems so simple, until you’re deep in the throes of an argument with yourself about this very thing. e.e. cummings solved his problem when deciding to use capital letters. He simply ignored them. His reasons weren’t because he found it bothersome to figure out if he was using a capital correctly, but rather a political protest. Mr. Cummings believed in equality and the rights of all people. He wanted to show we were all equal not just as people, bu also in our names. Sorry, Mr. Cummings, I prefer capital letters, and as an author now, so should you.

The most important time to use a capital letter is the use of the letter I to refer to yourself in the first person. Abbreviations and acronyms are also capitalized, with or without periods between each letter. The use of periods in acronyms seems to be a personal preference rather than a hard and fast rule.

Of course we all know that you use a capital letter for days of the week, months of the year, and holidays. Countries, languages & nationalities, and religions are also capitalized. A person’s name and title must always start with a capital letter. Those are no brainers along with trademarked items, the names of companies, and other organizations. Equally so, we will capitalize for places and monuments, the names of vehicles (ships, trains, and spacecraft).

The title of a book, poem, a song, a play, or a movie are also capitalized. As an author, you wouldn’t leave off capital letters in your title… unless you wanted to show a certain emotion about your main character.

There are other instances where you would use capital letters, but these are the most important. Any other word is left without a capital letter, unless it starts a sentence. It’s that simple. You aren’t showing the reader how important a verb is by capitalizing it. No one will be impressed if you capitalize an article or preposition. They’ll just wonder if you should go back to basic grammar in grade school and ignore any new books you right, hoping one day you’ll learn these important rules.