Make your voice heard
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If it’s a word we use often – or deem important – uppercasing the first letter may come naturally.

Often, we’ll do it inadvertently.

However, capitalisation – using uppercase letters instead of lowercase – is rarely required within a piece of written communication. And when it comes to capitalising an entire word for emphasis, readers may feel intimidated, and in the worst case, stop reading.

The more consistent and inviting your written communication is to look at, the more readers will absorb your message. We need to make it easy for them.

There are exceptions – and you may wish to add specific words or ‘rules’ to your business’ style guide. For example, written communication by many universities will use the form ‘the University’. This is their ‘style’ – and it’s used consistently.

Here’s a general guide to keeping your capital offences down.

When to use uppercase

Start of a sentence
Regardless of the word, the first letter of the first word of a sentence should always be uppercase.

Proper nouns
Awards: Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Peace Prize
Brands: Coca Cola, Coco Pops
Buildings: Empire State Building
Companies: Writewords, Yahoo
Days / months: Monday, July
Ethnic groups: Maori, Eskimo
Languages / nationalities: English, Spanish
Names: Santa Claus, Caroline McDevitt
Places: Gold Coast, Dakota, Australia
Publications: The Times, War and Peace, Cosmopolitan (also italicised)
Restaurants: McDonald’s
Religion: Catholic, Mormon, Muslim
Titles: Marketing Director (specific title); descriptions are not capitalised: writer, finance chief

Proper adjectives
Italian food
Jewish people
Victorian architecture

Abbreviations
PhD
TV
USA

Acronyms
ABBA
NATO
UNESCO

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