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Tutor Tip Tuesday: Capitalize Yo’self

It’s the beginning of a new year, new semester, and new you (right?). And what’s the one thing you want to do with all of these? You want to capitalize on them. And how can the Miller Writing Center help you capitalize on your capitalizing? By blogging some capitalization rules for you, and by offering free tutoring in six locations to all students, all writing. Here we’ll focus on the first of these.

1. CAPITALIZE THE FIRST WORD OF EVERY SENTENCE.

Sorry to yell, or scream. Two important lessons from the sentence that is this rule:

(1) Always capitalize the first word of every sentence. ALWAYS.

stop yelling at me capitalization

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) Don’t capitalize full sentences or phrases unless you want to be read as yelling or screaming.

-You may come off as a drill sergeant. And what do you call a drill sergeant with a voluntary audience?*

 

*Lonely

2. Titles

Style guides offer myriad advice about capitalizing titles, so here are helpful tidbits:

(1) Listen to the rules of the style guide your teacher suggests (MLA, APA, etc.)

(2) If there is no advised style guide, capitalizing all words except prepositions, articles, and conjunctions (unless they begin the title or subtitle) is your safest bet.

Examples:

Text Appeal: The Hottest Books of the 21st Century

On Who Is Perhaps the Last Superhero (or Villain): Iron Knee

#BonusFactoidHint: italicize book titles

(3) Be consistent. Be consistent. Be consistent. Nuff said. (Well, but don’t be redundant.)

 

3. Capitalization in Quotation Marks

Preliminary remark: When quoting material, don’t change the original capitalization.

When beginning dialogue or a quotation that requires a preliminary comma, capitalize the first letter of the first word said or quoted, but when a quote does not follow a comma, don’t capitalize it.

Examples:

He said, “Why, I sure love the grammar.”

The text states, “He enjoyed wearing frothy socks.”

I read that “fourteen women on one road” are actually “fourteen women on fourteen roads.”
Well, that’s all the help we can give for now. Any further capitalization is in your own hands, or at least under your shift key (regarding Caps Lock, see rule 1). So, remember these three rules, put them into practice, and, being the clever writer you are (yes, you are), capitalize yo’self.

– Carson

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