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Using Capital Letters in your Writing

08 Jul 2024

writingInternational business suffers from a serious overuse and incorrect use of capital (uppercase) letters. Here are examples of incorrect capitalization.

X Be sure to visit our Web Site.
X All the Company Employees are to attend the meeting.
X We are the largest Province in the country.
X Our Bookkeeper paid the invoice.
X She went to University in Japan.

Here are some guidelines for the use of capital letters:

Names of People
Ms Jennifer Karen Montgomery
Mrs Lisa Veronica Mallory
Mr Ming-Wa Nguyen

Family Title as Part of the Name
I wonder where Aunt Susan is. ("Aunt" is used as part of her name.)
I wonder where your aunt is. ("aunt" is NOT used as part of her name.)

Family Title Instead of the Name
I wonder why Mother is late today. ("Mother" is used as her name.)
I wonder why your mother is late today. ("mother" is NOT used as her name.)

Days of the Week
Monday, Wednesday, Saturday

Months of the Year
April, September, December

Valentine's Day, Christmas, Chinese New Year, Divali, Tet

Note: the names of the seasons are NOT capitalized.

My favourite season is autumn.
My favourite season is Autumn.

Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, London, Paris

States / Provinces
Florida, California, Guangdong, Shenzhen

Buildings, Parks, Zoos
I visited the San Francisco Zoo on my vacation. ("Zoo" is used as part of the name.)
I visited the zoo on my vacation. ("zoo" is NOT used as part of the name.)

Languages, Countries, Nationalities
Spanish, English, Chinese
South Korea, the United States
German, French, Japanese

CAPITALIZED: We went to South Korea on vacation. ("South" is used as part of the name.)
LOWER CASE: We drove south on Harbour Drive. ("south" is NOT used as part of the name.)

Job Titles and Company Departments
Chief Executive Officer
Sales Manager
Administrative Assistant
the Accounts Department
the Research and Development Department


Tips for Editing Business Documents

Achieving Emphasis in Business Writing

Language Tips for Business Meetings

Study Skills to Improve your English

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Questioning Techniques: 5 Types of Question Structures

Knowing When to Use the Passive Voice

Tips for Gender Neutral Business Writing

10 Common Grammatical Errors made by Hong Kongers

Responding to Compliments Gracefully

Complimenting Someone at Work

Expressing Empathy at Work

10 Job Interivew Tips in English

7 Problem Phrases in Business Writing

Welcoming Visitors: Using Open and Closed Questions

Paragraph Unity

Contrasting the Past Simple with the Past Perfect

Complaining Effectively to Suppliers

Tips to Help You Write Coherently