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Punctuation and Capitalization

Learn more about English rules of capitalization and punctuation to help you become a more confident writer.

Capitalization

Capitalize:

  • The first letter of the first word in a sentence
  • "I"
  • Proper nouns (e.g., the titles of a specific person, place, or thing, such as Royal Roads University)
  • Titles that appear before a person's name (e.g., Prime Minister Trudeau)

For more information and other examples of words that should be capitalized, please refer to Capitalization on the APA Style website.

Capitalization in quotations

According to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010), “the first letter of the first word in a quotation maybe changed to an uppercase or a lowercase letter” without the author providing any explanation of the change (p. 172). That approach is also included in the 7th edition rules (American Psychological Association. 2020, p. 274).Therefore, if you place a quotation into your work that begins with a capital in the original document but the start of the quotation will be in the middle of your sentence, you can change the initial capital to a lowercase letter to ensure correct capitalization within your sentence.

References

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. 

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000