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Capitals 1

Video (from Youtube): Capitalisation in Grammar by Mometrix Academy: (new tab). (Watching time:  2m:36s)

This video contains really short quick overview of the main rules for using capitals. They appear in a different order from our lessons, but they cover similar material to the information we have in all our capitalisation lessons.

Basic use

For starting sentences, proper names and I
Capitalisation is used in general to emphasise important things, but must not be over used. At the most basic level every sentence starts with a capital letter, and names of people, geographical locations, days and months must start with a capital. The word I is always a capital.

After reading the initial study, even Simon found the argument unconvincing.

I have only been to Paris once, and I loved it

Names of organisations, events, and brands

Names of organisations start with capitals.

Organisation names are like proper nouns holding the same status as the names of people and places.

The World Health Organisation is based in Zurich and is a member of the United Nations Development Group.

Names of events (including historical events):
Events often start with capitals, such as the Cold War, the Norman Conquest, the Big Day Out.
Non-specific events, such as the opening of the duck shooting season in New Zealand would not be capitalised, but the Kawhia Kai Festival would be (even though the former attracts more participants)!

France was the country most affected by the horrors of World War I

New Zealand has twice made the play-off stage at the soccer World Cup

Brand names.

From the original Budweiser clydesdale commercial on Youtube: “♫ Just say Budweiser, ♪ you’ve said it all ♭♩”

Specific documents

Documents and acts of parliament and legislation:

If you are writing about New Zealand’s Resource Management Act, the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, or the Privacy Act, you will notice that they are capitalised, but not the small non-content in-between words like the, and or in. If in doubt, capitalise all the words.

The Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act which comes into force this Friday.

1.Does this sentence use its capitals correctly?

The New Zealand Government’s new Food Bill sets out to replace outdated legislation, primarily the 1981 Food Act.


Why: It contains a specific named organisation (NZ Govt), a specific policy (Food Bill), and a snippet of legislation (1981 Food Act). They all require capitals.

2. Write this sentence correctly.

albert einstein worked in a university in bonn, before taking a permanent position at the university of zurich.

Albert Einstein worked in a university in Bonn, before taking a permanent position at the University of Zurich

Why: Albert – person’s name [proper noun] (and the start of the sentence) | Einstein – also a proper noun | university in Bonn – general unspecific university in the city of Bonn | University of Zurich – specific name of a university

3. Which of these require capitals?

Days of the week, months of the year | beginning of new sentences | names of seasons | people’s names, geographical locations

Days and months | beginning of sentences | people’s names and geographical locations

Why: Mount Taranaki, as a named mountain would always take a capital | Monday, Tuesday etc, January, February etc, days of week/months of year take capitals | Gobi Desert – specific named location needs a capital. But spring, summer etc, seasons of the year do not.

4. Select which of these require a capital, and those which do not.

world war 1 | kawhia kai festival | paul | dance party | united nations | auckland pride parade | australians | cup of tea

World War 1 | Kawhia Kai Festival | Paul | United Nations | Auckland Pride Parade | Australians
dance party | cup of tea

Why: dance party and cup of tea are the only items on the list that are used in a broad sense and are not referring to a specific person, event or organisation.