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Using Capital Letters

We can write each letter of the English alphabet as a small letter (abc...) or as a large or capital letter (ABC...). Here is a full list of capital letters.

In English, we do NOT use capital letters very much. We use them mainly for the first letter of sentences, names, days and months as well as for some abbreviations. We always write the first person pronoun as a capital I.

It is not usual to write whole sentences in capitals. A sentence or paragraph written in capitals is very difficult to read. Did you ever see a book written in capital letters? Of course not! We cannot easily read lots of text in capital letters. Lawyers, for example, know that capitals are difficult to read and that is why they often write contracts in capital letters!

When do we Use Capital Letters?

1. Use a capital letter for the personal pronoun 'I':

2. Use a capital letter to begin a sentence or to begin speech:

3. Use capital letters for many abbreviations and acronyms:

4. Use a capital letter for days of the week, months of the year, holidays:

5. Use a capital letter for countries, languages & nationalities, religions:

6. Use a capital letter for people's names and titles:

7. Use a capital letter for trade-marks and names of companies and other organizations:

8. Use a capital letter for places and monuments:

9. Use a capital letter for names of vehicles like ships, trains and spacecraft:

10. Use a capital letter for titles of books, poems, songs, plays, films etc:

11. Use capital letters (sometimes!) for headings, titles of articles, books etc, and newspaper headlines:

Why are Capital Letters Difficult to Read?

Why are texts written all in capitals more difficult to read than words in small letters? There are several reasons, including:

Word Shape

A word written with small letters has a special "shape". Look at these words. They have different shapes:

English

Spanish

But a word written all in capital letters has no special shape. Look at these words. They have the same shape:

ENGLISH

SPANISH

The I Song

This fun song by Jonathan Taylor is about the importance of using a "capital I" for the personal pronoun "I", as in:

Contributor: Jonathan Taylor

The I Song LYRICS

Hi, I am the I
And when I'm alone
I reach the sky

I said hi,
I am the I
And when I'm alone
I stand high

But baby when
I'm walking
beside you
That's when
you need to
think

Yeah baby when
I'm walking
hand-in-hand
in your word
That's when I
need to shrink

I said hi,
I'm the I