is the writing
of a word
with its first letter
and the remaining letters in lowercase
Capitalization custom varies with language.
In Latin and ancient Greek, only proper nouns are capitalized.
In most modern languages[?], the first word in a sentence is capitalized as well.
In the English language the word I is always capitalized, and many authors capitalize all words in a title exept conjunctions and articles[?].
Many other languages, such as German, capitalize all nouns.
Some other miscellaneous rules:
- In English, in addition to proper nouns, proper adjectives (those derived from a name, such as Canadian, Shakespearian) are written with initial majuscules, as are the names of days of the week, months, languages, and the pronoun I.
- In German, all nouns are written with an initial majuscule.
- In Dutch, if a proper noun starts with the diphthong ij both i and j are capitalized. Example: IJsland (Iceland).
- In Romance languages, days of the week, months, and adjectives are not written with initial majuscules.
- In Spanish, the abbreviation of the pronoun usted, Ud. or Vd., is usually written with a capital. The same goes for the Italian pronoun Lei and the German Sie when these are used as a respectful second-person pronoun (see T-V distinction).
- Some Romance languages capitalize specific nouns; for example, French often capitalizes such nouns as l'État (the state) and l'Église (the church) when not referring to specific ones.
- Many European languages capitalize pronouns used to refer to God or a god.
The full rules of capitalization for English are complicated and have changed over time, generally to capitalize fewer terms; to the modern reader, an 18th century document seems to use initial capitals excessively. It is an important function of English style guides to describe the complete current rules.
See also: Bicapitalization
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