Capitalization and Punctuation Rules
Here is a summary of capitalization and punctuation rules, organized to help you organize and remember them.
A statement is followed by a period.
A question is followed by a question mark.
An exclamation is followed by an exclamation point.
An imperative sentence is followed by either a period or an exclamation point.
Capitalize the first word in every sentence.--- How are you today?
Capitalize the pronoun I.--- He wanted to know if I was going to the party.
Capitalize proper nouns.
* people's names --- Billy,Kim
* geographical names --- Arizona, Thunderbird Mountain,
Grand Canyon, Atlantic Ocean
* special events --World Cup, Superbowl, Special Olympics
* historical events/periods ---Boston Tea Party, Declaration of
Independence, Stone Age
* nationalities, races, religions---American, Italian, Native American
* brand names---Hershy's, Lay's, Cracker Jacks
* ships, planets, awards---Enterprise, Mars, Newberry
* names of specific places---Desert Sage Elementary School, Safeway, Phoenix Zoo
* names of organizations, associations, or teams and their members
American Red Cross, Parent-Teacher Association, Arizona Cardinals
Capitalize proper adjectives.---( I love French and Chinese food.)
Capitalize the first word of a quoted sentence.
* He said, "Treat her with respect."
* "Look out!" she screamed. "You almost ran into the road."
* title before a name---Mr., Mrs., Dr.
***Do not capitalize when the title is acting as a description
following the name.***
Mrs. Crain, the principal of Desert Sage, will announce the
* Capitalize the person's title when it follows the name on the
address or signature line.
Mrs. Crain, Principal
* title of high official when used before their names.
President Obama, General Washington
***Do not capitalize the civil title if it is used instead of the name.
The president will address Congress.
All senators are expected to attend.
* Capitalize any title when used as a direct address.-
Will you take my temperature, Doctor?
* family relationship when used with or in place of person's name.
I asked Mom if we could go.
* first, last, and all the main words of titles, movies, songs,
newspaper, television show, works of art.---
"The National Anthem", Island of the Blue Dolphins, Arizona
Republic, Toy Story 3
Capitalize the first word in the greeting or closing of a letter.
Dear Kim, Your friend
Capitalize the names of national, religious, and local holidays.
Christmas, Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving
Capitalized the names of days and months.
Capitalize initials or abbreviations that stand for names and also abbreviations of titles and organizations.
Thomas A. Riddle, M.D. (Doctor of Medicine), PTA (Parent-Teacher
Capitalize points of the compass only when they refer to specific regions.
We have had three relatives visit from the South.
Go south three blocks and then turn left.
We live in the southeast section of town. (Southeast is just an
adjective here describing section, so it should not be capitalized.)
Do not capitalize names of seasons.
I love autumn colors and spring flowers.
Apostrophe - Possesives
* To form the possessive case of a singular noun,
add an apostrophe and add s.---
That is my sister's bike. (One sister who owns something.)
* To form the possessive case of a plural noun ending in s,
add only the apostrophe.
This is my twin sisters' closet. (More than one sister, who own
Apostrophe - Contractions
* Use an apostrophe to show where letters have been omitted in a
It is = it's (i is replaced with the apostrophe)
Would not = wouldn't (o is replaced with the apostrophe)
Apostrphe - Plurals
* Use an apostrophe and s to form the plural of letters and numbers.
* Use a colon between hours and minutes in time. 12:42
* Use commas to separate items in a series.
(I love math, reading, and writing.)
* Use commas to set off an expression that interrupts a sentence.
(Hey, what are you doing?) (Yes, we go to the park.)
(Oh, I forgot my book.)
* To set off the name of the person you're speaking about.
(Mrs. Crain, our principal, is in her office.)
* Use a comma after an introductory phrase or clause.
(My good fellow, how are you today?)
* Use a comma to set off the name of the person you're speaking to.
(Jennie, can yo go to the movies tonight?)
* Use a comma with words that interrupt a sentence's basic idea.
(Kelly, of course, had to tell a scary story around the campfire.)
(Timmy, therefore, will have to leave the game early.)
* Use a comma in front of a short, direct quotation in the
middle of a sentence.
(Susan asked, "Is that your backpack on the floor?")
* Use a comma at the end of a direct quotation that is a statement
when it comes at the beginning of a sentence.
("Mrs. Short is our math teacher," explained Lori.)
* Use a comma between a city and a state.
* Use a comma between the day and year in a date.
(July 1, 2008)
* Use a comma after the greeting and closing of a friendly letter.
(Dear Kelly, Yours truly,)
* Use a period at the end of a statement, at the end of an imperative
sentence that doesn't require an exclamation point, and after most
initials and abbreviations. Also use as a decimal point.
(Dr. A. C. Ross will visit the clinic today.)
* Use quotation marks to enclose a direct quotation.
(A person's exact words.)
(Sue said, "Pass the paper, please.")
How to punctuate and capitalize a quotation.
* A direct quotation begins with a capital letter.
* When a quoted sentence is divided into two parts by an interrupting
expression such as he said or Mother asked, the second part begins
with a small letter.
(Cory hummed, "Row, row, row, your boat," as he washed the car.)
* A direct quotation is set off from the rest of the sentence by
commas or by a question mark or exclamation point.
("I don't want to go to bed!" screamed the boy.)
* An end mark or coma following a quotation should be placed inside
the closing quotation marks.
( Kim said, "Let's go to the movie.")
* When you write dialogue (two or more persons having a
conversation), begin a new paragraph each time you change
* When a quotation consists of several sentences, put quotation
marks only at the beginning and at the end of the whole quotation,
not around each sentence in the quotation.
* Use single quotation marks to enclose a quotation with a quotation.
* Use quotation marks to enclose titles of chapters, articles, short
stories, poems, songs, and other parts of books or magazines.