Written languages were originally composed of all capital letters (it is theorized that lower-case letters came into being due to sloppy handwriting). Nowadays, we frown on that, equating it to shouting. Every language has its own rules as to which words should be capitalized and under which circumstances. The are some basic rules we can learn to follow that make this skill pretty easy. The most obvious rule is that the first word of every sentence should be a CAP. We should also capitalize the first letter of the name of a particular people, places, or things. These are called proper nouns. We should also throw a CAP on titles. There is an exception, we should not capitalize a title if it follows the name of a person. There are some other things that always get a CAP they include directions (East, Northwest), days of the week (Saturday), months of the year (August), countries (Canada), nationalities (French), and holidays (Thanksgiving). Also do not forget about the first-person pronoun (I). Most spell checkers will help you with this, but sometimes they miss it especially the proper nouns.
The following pages challenge students to find and correct errors in proper capitalization, either by rewriting, matching, or identifying the relevant rule of capitalization. Answer keys are provided. Fun Fact: Computer programming, product branding, and other disciplines have their own case conventions, including CamelCase, snake_case, SCREAMING_SNAKE_CASE, kebab-case, and StUdlYCaPS.
Get Free Worksheets In Your Inbox!
Print Capitalization Worksheets
Click the buttons to print each worksheet and associated answer key.
Match each sentence to the rule that applies to the error that you found.
What Are the Rules of Capitalization?
For a non-native, the many rules of English writing might sound confusing, but the rules of capitalization don't fall into this category. We have compiled this extensive list for you to learn when capitalization is necessary - and when it is grammatically incorrect.
Capitalize the First Letter of a Sentence
The first and basic rule of capitalization is that the first letter of a sentence is always capitalized. There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule. Just capitalize the first letter of every sentence.
Proper Nouns and Adjectives
The names of famous or special people, places, or things will be capitalized. This is the main difference between a proper and a common noun. For example, a tower is a common noun, while Eiffel Tower is a proper noun.
A few categories of proper nouns are:
- Names of cities, countries, towns, and continents (Paris, Canada, Asia)
- Names of mountains, hills, and volcanoes (Mount Everest, Mount Vesuvius)
- Names of water bodies, including oceans, rivers, seas, lakes, creeks, streams, and beaches (Lodgepole Creek, Colorado River,)
- Names of buildings, bridges, monuments, and tunnels (The Lincoln Memorial, The Statue of Liberty, The Louvre, World Trade Center)
- Street names (Silver Canoe Way, Meditation Lane, Manhattan Avenue)
- Names of schools, colleges, and universities (Harvard University, Kingston College, Villanova Preparatory School)
- Languages and nationalities (German, Hispanic, Arabic)
- Companies and trademarks (Macy’s, Tesla, Toyota, Bath & Body Works)
- Events and time periods (Byzantine, Renaissance, World War 1, Middle Ages)
- Gods and Religious scriptures (Quran, Bible, Poseidon, Hades)
The Pronoun I
Unlike other pronouns, I must be capitalized wherever it may fall in the sentence.
- I want to get my hands on this cashmere sweater as soon as it goes on sale.
- She said that we are free to go, but I’d rather wait for the final signatures.
- Marco and I are planning to go hiking first thing in the morning.
Book and Movie Titles
Creative works, books, poems, movies, etc., require capitalization in their titles. Generally, these words in a title are supposed to be capitalized: the beginning word, nouns, adjectives, verbs, and the last word.
On the other hand, the following words are not supposed to be capitalized: articles (a, an, the), conjunctions (and, for, so, but), and prepositions with three or fewer letters (in, on, at).
- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
- The Sound of Music
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
- My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
- Spider-Man: Far From Home
- Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas
Titles of People
People's first, middle, and last names are always supposed to be written in capital letters (Albus Percival, Wolveric Brian Dumbledore). Not just these; suffixes (Mr., Mrs., Dr., Sr.) and titles (Princess Jasmine) are also capitalized.
If you're using the title as a name, you have to capitalize it.
- Grandma Beatrice makes the best pancakes Vs My grandma makes the best pancakes.
- Did you ask Dad about the swim meet Vs I asked my dad about going swimming after lunch.
The First Word in Quotations
A quote, when written within a long sentence, will be capitalized. A phrase that can fit into a long sentence does not require capitalization. Let's show this by examples:
The boy said, "My father will be here in an hour," but he came within 5 minutes.
The boy told us that his father would "be here in an hour," but he came within 5 minutes.