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Capitalization is the writing of a word with its first letter in uppercase 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:

  1. 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.
  2. In German, all nouns are written with an initial majuscule.
  3. In Dutch, if a proper noun starts with the diphthong ij both i and j are capitalized. Example: IJsland (Iceland).
  4. In Romance languages, days of the week, months, and adjectives are not written with initial majuscules.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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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