English is a peculiar language. It is amazing how English has become so popular through out the world in spite of not having its own script. Yes. English doesn’t have its own script and it uses Roman Script. It is like writing Hindi in Kannada letters. In addition, unlike Indian scripts, English has uppercase letters and lowercase letters. While uppercase letters are called capital letters and the lowercase letters are known as small letters.


English did not always use the capital and small letters. In the 3rd century BCE (Before Common Era or Anno Domini AD) English writings had only capital letters. It is only in 9th century BCE that we see the use of small letters in English.

During those days there were no printing press. People used to write all the books by hand. To make their writing beautiful they used the mixture of capital and small letter. The capital letters were used for the first letter of the sentence. The capital letter suggested the beginning of new thought while the ‘full stop’ suggested the completion of the thought.

Appropriate use of capital letters not only reduces the strain on the brain but also makes the writing, easy to read and comprehend. For example read the following sentences and find out which is more strenuous.

  • there is a dog in vidyanjali. its name is jockey.
  • There is a dog in Vidyanjali. Its name is Jockey.

While all small letters are monotonous and boring, all capital letters are a strain for the eyes and the brain. They also indicate emphasis and used when we want to communicate anger and shouting. Therefore it is essential to know when to use capital letters.

All proper nouns are capitalized. We need to know the difference between the proper noun and a common noun. Common nouns are common names example dog, cat, man, boy, girl, country, city, vehicle etc. Proper nouns are the names of particular dog, boy, girl, country, vehicle, thing. Example Jockey, Katty, Rakshit, Ramya, Sri Lanka, Honda City, Sony Xperia etc.


Name of persons are capitalized

Common noun – boy – any boy

Proper noun – Vinay – a particular boy, the son of Mr. Srinivas Rao


Names of the animals are capitalized

Common noun – dog – any dog

Proper noun – Jockey – the dog in Vidyanjali


Names of the vehicles capitalized

Common noun – car – any car

Proper noun – Maruti Alto – a particular model


Names of the things are capitalized

Common noun – mobile phone

Proper noun – Nokia Lumia


Names of books are capitalized

Common noun – book – any book

Proper Noun – Jungle Book – the book written by Rudyard Kipling

Names of the movies are capitalized

Common noun – movie – any movie

Proper noun – Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone – name of the movie directed by Chris Columbus


Nationalities, ethnic groups and languages are capitalized

Brazilian – names of the people are capitalized

Hindi – the name of the languages are capitalized

Kurubas – ethnic groups are capitalized


Names of days and months of a year are capitalized

Tuesday – the name of a particular day

August – the name of a particular month


Names of continents, countries, states, cities and streets are capitalized

Africa, Nepal, Texas, Rome, Infantry Road


The word ‘I’ is always capitalized.

The girl said, ‘I am Shruthi, the daughter of Lokesh Reddy.’


Geographic locations, like the names of mountains and rivers are capitalized.

Kanchan Junga, River Yamuna.


Names of all brands, titles, events and structures are capitalized.

Colgate, Inspiro – 2013, Eiffel Tower, World War II, Japanese


The names of holidays are capitalized.

Mother’s Day, Republic Day


References to the supreme god are capitalized.

God, Allah, Prophet, Buddha, Muslim, Hindu

Names of religious works are capitalized

Bible, Quran, Bhagavatha, Bhagavad Gita etc.


When we DO NOT use capital letters


The academic years are not capitalized

freshman, junior, or senior


The names of decades or centuries are not capitalized.

twenties, thirties

Some more rules of capitalization


If the word ‘the’ preceding the name of the organization and is part of an organization’s legal name it should be capitalized. Example:

The Times of India

the Deccan Herald


The official titles of honor and respect have to be capitalized. On the other hand do not capitalize a title when the personal name follows the title. Example:

  • Councilor Jayappa Reddy will present a new plan for the city
  • The councilor, Jayappa Reddy, will present a new plan for the city.

These are a few of the rules of capitalization that we follow in our day-to-day writings. Appropriate and effective use of capital letters not only increases the readability but also makes the writing beautiful.

Author: Rekha Reddy

......from light to light. I intend to pass on the light which was bestoved upon me by my teachers Mr. Appaji, Mr. Gundu Rao, Mrs. Meenakshi Shivarama Krishnan and Prof. Rajendra Gupta and by my friend Mr. Balachandra. I intend to pass on the beacon of hope, love, forgiveness and progress to all those who are involved with children and to all those who want to lay a firm foundation for beautiful world by creating wonderful childhood. ... Let's march from light to light

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