When to Capitalize

Here are the rules for when to capitalize terms.

Capitalize the first word in a sentence. CC_ID 06165

The first word in a sentence and the first word in tabulated items in the listing style.

Capitalize geographic names. CC_ID 06166


  • Ohio River

  • Marion County

  • Hoosier National Forest

Capitalize the months and the weekdays. CC_ID 06167


  • January

  • February

  • Monday

  • Tuesday

Capitalize street names, road names, park names, and building names. CC_ID 06168


  • the White House

  • U.S. Route 50

  • Garfield Park

Capitalize the names of nationalities and languages. CC_ID 06169


  • Spanish-speaking people

  • English language

Capitalize political parties and religious denominations. CC_ID 06170


  • the Democratic party

  • the Republican party

  • the Methodist church

Capitalize an organization's name and institution's name. CC_ID 06171


  • Associated Press

  • Indiana University

  • Indiana State Medical Association

Capitalize the names of any federal entity and international entity. CC_ID 06172

Always use the correct name of an entity, and do not use acronyms as abbreviations. Examples:

  • United States Department of the Interior

  • United States House of Representatives

  • United States Senate

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation

  • World Bank

  • United Nations

Capitalize titles of specific acts, laws, and other official document titles. CC_ID 06173


  • Equal Rights Amendment

  • Internal Revenue Code; Social Security Act

  • the Constitution of the United States

  • the Constitution of the State of Indiana

  • Rules of Trial Procedure

Capitalize titles of honor and respect, if they precede the person's name. CC_ID 06174


  • Governor Frank O'Bannon

  • State Senator Robert D. Garton

  • State Representative John Gregg

  • Senator Richard Lugar (but, senator of Indiana)

  • Queen Elizabeth (but, queen of England)

Capitalize titles of honor at the state level and national level, if a proper name is not used. CC_ID 06186

Capitalize “President” when referring to the President of a nation regardless of whether the name is included. Capitalize both words of “Vice-President” when referring to the Vice-President of a nation.

Capitalize holidays, religious days, and historic events. CC_ID 06175


  • Fourth of July

  • Thanksgiving Day

  • Passover

Capitalize book titles, magazine names, newspaper names, and periodical names. CC_ID 06176


  • the Indianapolis Star

  • the Indiana Register

Capitalize the second word of hyphenated titles. CC_ID 06177


  • Community-Board

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