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The full rules of capitalization for English are complicated. The rules have also changed over time, generally to capitalize fewer terms. To the 21st-century reader, an 18th-century document uses initial capitals incorrectly and without any kind of rule or logic by capitalizing many but usually not all common nouns.
The current rules can be found in style guidesalthough there is some variation from one guide to another.
Owing to the essentially arbitrary nature of orthographic classification and the existence of variant authorities and local house stylesquestionable capitalization of words is not uncommon, even in respected newspapers and magazines.
Most publishers require consistency, at least within the same document, in applying a specified standard: Pronouns[ edit ] In English, the subjective form of the singular first-person pronoun"I", is capitalized, along with all its contractions such as I'll and I'm.
Object and possessive forms "me", "my", and "mine" are not. Many European languages traditionally capitalize nouns and pronouns used to refer to Godincluding references to Jesus Christ reverential capitals: Some English authors capitalize any word referring to God: These practices have become much less common in English in the 20th and 21st centuries.
In the Bahai Scriptures, singular and plural object, subject, and possessive forms get capitalization if referring to a Rasulthe Twelve Imamsor 'Abdu'l-Baha. Some languages capitalize the formal pronoun: In Germanthe formal third person plural pronoun Sie is capitalized along with all its case -forms Ihre, Ihres, etc.
Until the recent German spelling reform sthe traditional rules which are still widely adhered to, although not taught in schools also capitalized the informal 2nd person singular pronoun Du and its derivatives, such as Dein when used in letters or similar texts, but this is no longer required.
Italian also capitalizes its formal pronouns, Lei and Loro, and their cases even within words, e. This is occasionally also done for the Dutch U, though this is formally only required when referring to a deity and may be considered archaic.
In Spanishthe abbreviations of the pronouns usted and ustedes, Ud. In Finnishthe second-person plural pronoun can be used when formally addressing a single person, and in writing the pronoun is sometimes capitalized as Te to indicate special regard. Historically, the familiar second-person pronoun ti and its cases tebe, tebi, teboj were capitalized as well, but new orthography prohibits such use.
In Danishthe plural second-person pronoun, I, is capitalized, but its other forms jer and jeres are not. This distinguishes it from the preposition i "in". The formal second-person pronoun is also capitalized in all its forms De, Dem, Deresdistinguishing it from the otherwise identical third-person plural pronouns.
In formally written PolishCzechSlovak and Latvianmost notably in letters and e-mailsall pronouns referring to the addressee are capitalized. This principle extends to nouns used formally to address the addressee of a letter, such as Pan "sir" and Pani "madam".
In contrast, Malay orthography used in MalaysiaSingapore and Brunei does not require the capitalization of anda. In Tagalog and its standard form, Filipinothe formal second-person pronouns Kayo and Ninyo and their oblique form Inyo are customarily and reverentially capitalized as such, particularly in most digital and printed media related to religion and its references.
Purists who consider this rule as nonstandard and inconsistent do not apply it when writing. In Swedish, since du-reformenthe second person singular pronoun du may be capitalized as Du when addressed formally.
Some languages capitalize a royal we pluralis majestatise. The English vocative particle O, an archaic form of address, e. Thou, O king, art a king of kings. However, lowercase o is also occasionally seen in this context.
Places and geographic terms[ edit ] This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
October Learn how and when to remove this template message The capitalization of geographic terms in English text generally depends on whether the author perceives the term as a proper nounin which case it is capitalized, or as a combination of an established proper noun with a normal adjective or noun, in which case the latter are not capitalized.
There are no universally agreed lists of English geographic terms which are considered as proper nouns.
The following are examples of rules that some[ which? In general, the first letter is capitalized for well-defined regions, e. MuztagataRiver Severn Otherwise, do not capitalize a generic term that follows a capitalized generic term Yangtze River valley Use lower case for plurals of generic terms Gobi and Taklamakan deserts [ citation needed ]; but " the Dakotas " Only capitalize "the" if it is part of the short-form formal place name The Hague vs.
Abbreviated When a term is used as a name and then subsequently a shorter term is used then that shorter term maybe used generically. If that is the case do not capitalize.
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