During a class at church yesterday, I noticed the presentation on the screen at the front of the room had an abundance of capital letters in it. Far more than necessary.

I see this fairly often, and it’s one of the writing mistakes I correct most frequently.

You should capitalize words in basically only 3 situations:

  1. Proper nouns (like Canada, Jane, and Saskatchewan)
  2. First word in a sentence
  3. Main words in a title

I’m not sure why some people feel it necessary to capitalize words beyond this.

Here’s an example I saw on Facebook today:

Kinda busy celebrating my 20th Wedding Anniversary with my dear husband.

Notice that “Wedding Anniversary” is capitalized? It’s not a proper noun. It’s not the first word in a sentence. It’s not the main words in a title. “Wedding anniversary” should not be capitalized. This should have simply been written as “wedding anniversary”.

Remember the next time you’re tempted to capitalize a word to ask yourself if it’s a proper noun, if it’s the first word in a sentence, or it’s part of a title. Otherwise, just let it be.

About Kim Siever

I am a copywriter and copyeditor. I blog on writing tips mostly, but I sometimes throw in my thoughts about running a small business. Follow me on Twitter at @hotpepper.

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