• MECHANICS

    I. CAPITALIZATION

    First Words: Capitals are used for the first words in a sentence, line of poetry, direct quotation (but not the first word in the second part of a divided quotation, unless it starts a new sentence), salutation and complimentary close of a letter, line of an outline, and title of book, poem, short story, article, work of art, musical composition, etc. All other words in the title should also be capitalized except articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, and the to in infinitives.

    Names: Proper nouns (which name a particular person, place, or thing) and proper adjectives (which are derived from proper nouns) are capitalized. See list below.

    (1) Organizations and Institutions
    branches and units of the armed services - Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army
    business and trade names - General Motors Corp., IBM, Colgate toothpaste, Kleenex
    churches - St. Mark"s Church, Memorial Church
    clubs and their members - GPSHS Drama Club, a Boy Scout, Cottage Hospital Auxiliary, the Rotary Club, Rotarians
    governmental and judicial bodies - the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the Justice Department
    hospitals - Children"s Hospital, Hutzel Hospital
    political parties - Democratic Party, Republican Party

    but not words such as church, school, college, and hospital when not used as names (the Baptist church, a college education) or words such as army or navy when used in their plural forms or when not part of an official title (allied armies, the ancient Greek navy)

    (2) People
    family relationships when used as names - Hello, Mother! Uncle John is here.
    names of persons and initials that stand for names - John, John Paul, J. P.
    nicknames - Alexander the Great, Old Hickory
    personifications - " . . . she dwells with Beauty . . ." or "the sweet breath of Spring"
    pronouns - I (but not he, she, you, we, etc.)
    titles used with names or abbreviations of titles - Dr. Jones, Senator Clark, Mr., Mrs.
    titles of high rank used with or without the name - the President of the United States

    but not family relationships when modified by personal pronouns (My uncle is famous. My mother is not.) or titles when used as common nouns (such as a country doctor or the president of the company)

    (3) Places
    bodies of water - Pacific Ocean, Lake St. Clair
    continents and countries - Europe, Australia, Italy
    global divisions - Eastern Hemisphere, Tropic of Cancer
    heavenly bodies - the Milky Way, the planet Earth
    land forms - Mojave Desert, Cape of Good Hope
    nicknames - the Badger State, the Gold Coast

    political units - Oak Park, Utah, First Congressional District
    roads and highways - Broad Street, Fisher Freeway
    public places - Badlands National Monument
    directions on the compass when they refer to a specific section of the country - the Southwest, an Eastern university, a Southern accent

    but not simple directions (We moved westward as the north wind blew.), some adjectives derived from proper nouns (french fries, manila envelope, a japan finish), or "earth," "sun," and "moon" unless they occur with other astronomical names. (The moon shines brightly.)

    (4) Religious References
    religions and religious orders - Buddhism, Christianity, Society of Jesus
    the Deity and pronouns referring to the Supreme Being - God, Allah, He, the Holy Family, the Almighty
    religious scriptures and creeds - the Bible, the Book of Exodus, the Koran, Apostles" Creed, the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Nicene Creed

    but not gods and goddesses when referring to mythology (Greek goddesses, Norse gods)

    (5) Things
    awards - Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Academy Award
    documents - Treaty of Paris, Bill of Rights, Magna Carta, Clean Air Act of 1990
    names of vehicles (trains, planes, automobiles, etc.) - Titanic, Lindbergh"s Spirit of St. Louis, Apollo 13, Challenger, Cutlass Supreme, Malibu Classic)

    (6) Time Periods
    events - Battle of Hastings, World War I, the Boston Tea Party
    months and days - May, Monday
    historical periods - Renaissance, the Middle Ages, the Third Reich, the Roaring Twenties, the Dark Ages
    holidays - Thanksgiving, Fourth of July

    but not seasons (spring, summer, winter, fall, autumn) or numerical designations of historical periods unless part of a proper name (the eighteenth century, the eighties)

    (7) Miscellaneous
    abbreviations - U.S.A., N.A.A.C.P., M.D., No.
    races and ethnic groups - Negro, Caucasian, Hispanic
    nationalities - Canadian, Egyptian
    languages - French, Latin

    but not subjects except for languages or if followed by a course number (Algebra 101, history, French, math) or a prefix attached to a proper noun (un-American) or a common noun shared by or coming after proper nouns (Missouri and Ohio rivers, United and American airlines)


    A Guide to Communication:The Grosse Pointe Public Schools Style Sheet
    © The Grosse Pointe Public School System, 2000