If you’ve ever been confused about which words, titles, and acronyms to capitalize when you’re writing content like blog posts, you’re not alone! Since a lot of web content is informal, there aren’t always strict rules to follow. Fortunately, there are some guidelines that you can follow to make sure your writing is accurate.
Why are capitalization rules important for writing on the internet?
Capitalization rules help establish clear style and proper grammar when you create blog posts, web pages, and other online content. You must have clear and consistent capitalization when writing for the internet to ensure that your audience understands your message.
What are the basic capitalization rules in English?
Proper grammar rules in English are constantly changing as the language evolves. However, here are some basic capitalization guidelines that you should always follow:
- Capitalize the first word of each sentence.
- Capitalize the first word and any other important words in the titles of works.
- Capitalize proper nouns.
Your word processing software likely includes an editing tool that can identify some capitalization errors. However, these programs don’t always know when you’re using a proper noun such as a personal, geographical, or institutional name, so it’s important that you identify which words need caps and which ones don’t.
When do you capitalize personal names, geographical names, and institutional names?
A proper noun—such as a personal, geographical, and institutional name—should always be capitalized. This includes specific names like “John Smith,” “Chicago,” and “Harvard University.” If you’re writing in more general terms with words like “man,” “city,” or “college,” you do not need capitalization.
Capitalization of titles
Like proper nouns, many titles require capitalization. If you’re writing web content that discusses works or job titles, you might have to use caps in order to follow proper English grammar rules.
When do you capitalize the titles of works?
Titles of works like books, movies, and songs should have the first word and any other important words capitalized. For example, The Great Gatsby should have all words capitalized. Conversely, some articles and conjunctions in the middle of a title can be lowercase, as in Of Mice and Men.
When do you capitalize job titles?
Job titles should be capitalized when they’re used immediately before an individual’s name. For example, “Doctor Jones” should be capitalized, but “the doctor” doesn’t need caps.
In addition to proper nouns and titles, the style of English grammar has evolved to include other potentially confusing capitalization rules. For example, acronyms—abbreviations that you pronounce as words—should be capitalized if they’re considered proper nouns, like “NASA” and “NATO.” However, acronyms that are not proper nouns, such as “radar” or “scuba,” don’t need to be capitalized.
Additionally, many internet slang terms are not capitalized, since they aren’t proper nouns or acronyms. Think of “lol” or “tbh.” These are not hard-and-fast rules, so if your web writing includes internet slang, you can use your own style and still follow proper grammar!
Need help with English capitalization rules?
Still confused? Don’t worry! Elite Editing is here to help you follow capitalization rules for proper grammar. Visit our website for information on our proofreading and editing services!