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Writing Challenge: To Capitalize or Not

capitalize (verb): to write the first letter of a word with a capital letter

This month I'd like to challenge you to review the rules about capitalization. We don't use capitals very often. The 3 most common reasons for using a capital letter are:

1) at the beginning of a new sentence

2) for the pronoun "I"

3) the first letter of a proper noun

When I read the blog posts and comments on MyEC, I often notice people using capital letters incorrectly.

The 4 most common errors I see English learners making when it comes to capitalization are: 

1) using a capital mid sentence for pronouns like "he", "she", or "it" (eg: My brother is so smart He graduated with honours.)

2) NOT using any capital letters and using commas instead of periods ( eg: i want to eat ben and jerry's ice cream, do you like ice cream, it's so hot outside today in mexico)


4) using capital letters for common nouns (eg: I bought a new Car today.)

Some people use capital letters incorrectly because they don't know the rules. Other people use capital letters incorrectly because they are being lazy. Text messaging and instant messaging (chat) have a role in this laziness. It's not a big deal to chat or text without capital letters. However, when you write a blog post, an essay, or a letter, it is better to use proper formatting. Readers will take your writing more seriously if you use capital letters properly. 

Your Task:

A) Review the rules of capitalization on EnglishClub. 

B) Start a new blog post. Use the title: Writing Challenge: To Capitalize or Not. This post will be a letter to a member of MyEC (or to me) about a trip you took. In your letter, include these 10 examples of capitals. (Your trip can be fictional or true.)

Here is a summary of EC's checklist of when to use capitals. Please include all 10 in your letter: 

1) for the personal pronoun "I"

2) to begin a sentence or speech

3) for abbreviations

4) for days, months, holidays

5) for countries, nationalities, religions

6) for people's names and titles

7) for companies and organizations

8) for important places and monuments

9) for named vehicles 

10) for specific works of art 

C)  Come back to this post and share a link to your blog post.

My Example: 

Dear Camelia, 

I am so happy that you enjoyed my video about New York. Visiting NYC on the Victoria Day weekend was a dream come true for me. Even though we only went for a long weekend, we still enjoyed four full days in the Big Apple. We left on Thursday and came back on Monday. The weather was wonderful! I highly recommend visiting New York in May. It did rain on our last day, but we were exhausted by then. We didn't mind walking down Broadway in the rain. 

We met many friendly Americans on our trip! They helped us decide which places to see. One of my favourite places was the James A. Farley Post Office. It's located very close to Penn Station. I wanted to send my kids a postcard, but the lineups were too long. I took quite a few pictures to share with EnglishClub members. 

We saw some fancy cars in New York City! I took a few pictures for my son, because he loves Ferraris and other expensive cars (he has a big Hot Wheels collection). We also saw many limousines and taxis. Apparently Bono was in town while we were there. We didn't see any celebrities, though. Out by the J.F.K airport we saw one of the space shuttles. I think it was the Enterprise.

One of the highlights of the trip was leaving a copy of my novel, "The Proper Order of Things", in Central Park. I hope someone will write to me soon to say that they found it and enjoyed it.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!



Note: Another word for capital is "upper case". The common short form is "caps". When you have to fill out a form you may hear someone say, "Please write in caps". This means they want you to write ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS. 

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Tags: Writing Challenge, capitalization, capitals

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Comment by ingrid on January 6, 2015 at 6:45

It is so useful. I will do as it.

Comment by Komala on October 31, 2014 at 17:59

Thank you so much for this. I have been such mistakes, but from your blog posts, I have learned a lot from you.

Thanks Tara

Comment by Aya kurdistan on September 7, 2014 at 12:26

Thank you so much dear Sara for the information it is really useful. 

Comment by Bala from India on April 2, 2014 at 10:31

Very Informative...Thanks a Lot Teacher Tara..

Comment by dusa on February 4, 2014 at 13:04

Thank you very much,it's more than helpfull

Comment by bluerose on July 10, 2012 at 10:09

hi drear teacher Tana.  I Edit my mistakes :)

Comment by dayana2 on July 6, 2012 at 6:19

Thank you dear Tara so so much , I will try write some thing , but I thing the main problem  I am lazyyyyyyyyy

Comment by bluerose on July 5, 2012 at 11:00

Hi Dear Teacher Tara , I writ this letter to my dear Friend Lolo Yaya :)

really I benefited from the lesson and I writer it  in my Notebook

Comment by Tara Benwell on July 4, 2012 at 14:45

@lolo yaya Great question! I think it's a good idea to use capitals in the chat room. If you don't, you will get lazy. Then you will start forgetting capitals when writing email, blog posts, or essays. The more you use them, the more it will become natural for you. 

Comment by Grace on July 2, 2012 at 14:08

Dear Tara,  here is mine. Please take a look at it, thank you. :) 

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