Capitalizing age names, time periods, and centuries

Capitalizing Age Names, Time Periods, and Centuries

When are designations for historically significant phenomena treated with initial capital letters, and when are the names rendered with lowercase letters? Exceptions, as always, are available to confound us, but the rules are fairly straightforward.

Names of political and cultural periods or events are often capitalized in their original connotations, but when such nomenclature is used by extension in a generic sense, the designations are (usually) lowercased.

For example, one should write, for example, “The arts and sciences flourished during the Renaissance,” but “The downtown district is experiencing a renaissance.

” (However, to describe someone as well rounded in skills or talents, write “He’s a Renaissance man” even when he is not a contemporary of Michelangelo.)

The same distinction applies for such terms as “golden age” (“The Golden Age was the first of Hesiod’s Ages of Man,” but “Jazz music has experienced several golden ages”) and “belle époque” (“The period of peace and optimism in France in the nearly half century before World War I came to be known retrospectively as the Belle Époque,” but “They look back on that prosperous period as a belle époque”).

Similarly, one would write “China’s infamous Cultural Revolution was a decade-long time of great turmoil,” but “American society has undergone a cultural revolution of late,” and while references to the mid-twentieth-century tension between Western nations and the Communist Bloc capitalize “Cold War,” any such conflict without open hostilities is a cold war.

The Enlightenment was a specific cultural movement in Europe and Britain’s American colonies during the 1600s and 1700s, or a similar era in any one of several countries.

Generic usage is as follows: “In the Western world, the concept of enlightenment in a religious context acquired a romantic meaning.

” However, in specific usage, enlightenment is capitalized: “The Russian Enlightenment is a period in the eighteenth century in which the government in Russia began to actively encourage the proliferation of arts and sciences.”

Adjectives preceding names of political entities are often erroneously capitalized.

No civilization has ever gone by the official name of Ancient Greece or Imperial Rome, for example; the first word in such designations is generally a mere descriptor and is therefore lowercased: “The course is a general overview of the history of ancient Greece”; “This essay will discuss the economic structure of imperial Rome.”

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Capitalization: Periods and Events

Specific periods, eras, historical events, etc.: these should all be capitalized as proper nouns. Why? Since there are many periods, eras, wars, etc., the capital will differentiate the specific from the common. Consider the examples below:

Most of the World War I veterans are now deceased.

In the Middle Ages
, poor hygiene was partly responsible for the spreading of bubonic plague.

The McCarthy Era inspired Arthur Miller to write The Crucible.

Roman Britain is the setting for the Minimus comic books.

Middle school students often enjoy studying the social changes that took place in the Roaring Twenties

However, centuries—and the numbers before them—are not capitalized. See the examples below for an illustration of this rule:

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
, England blossomed into an empire.

In the eighteen hundreds
, the world saw great technological advancement.

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When Do You Capitalize Terms about Time?

By Geraldine Woods

You use terms about time to describe historical events and eras, to distinguish morning from afternoon, and to write about the season of the year. But what do you capitalize if you want to impress your English grammar teacher?

Capitalizing historical events and eras

This story of Jane’s adventures should make the rules concerning the capitalization of historic events and eras easy.

Jane entered her time machine and set the dial for the Middle Ages. Because of a tiny glitch in the power supply, Jane instead ended up right in the middle of the Industrial Revolution. Fortunately for Jane, the Industrial Revolution did not involve a real war.

Jane still shudders when she remembers her brief stint in the Civil War. She is simply not cut out to be a fighter, especially not a fighter in the nineteenth century.

On the next Fourth of July, Jane plans to fly the bullet-ridden flag she brought back from the Battle of Gettysburg.

Capitalize the names of specific time periods and events but not general words. Hence

  • Capitals: Middle Ages, Industrial Revolution, Civil War, Fourth of July, Battle of Gettysburg
  • Lowercase: war, nineteenth century

Some grammarians capitalize Nineteenth Century because they see it as a specific time period. Others say that you should lowercase numbered centuries.

Can you correct the capitalization in this paragraph?

Jane has never met Marie Antoinette, but Jane is quite interested in the French revolution. With her trusty time-travel machine, Jane tried to arrive in the Eighteenth Century, just in time for Bastille Day. However, once again she missed her target and landed in the middle of the first crusade.

Here is the answer, with explanations in parentheses:

Jane has never met Marie Antoinette, but Jane is quite interested in the French Revolution. (Capitalize the name of a war.

) With her trusty time-travel machine, Jane tried to arrive in the eighteenth century, (Optional, but most grammarians write numbered centuries in lower case.) just in time for Bastille Day. (Correct. Capitalize the names of important days.

) However, once again she missed her target and landed in the middle of the First Crusade. (Capitalize the name of the war.)

Capitalizing seasons

Lochness hates the summer because of all the tourists who try to snap pictures of what he calls “an imaginary monster.” He’s been known to roar something about “winter’s peaceful mornings,” even though he never wakes up before 3 p.m.

After reading the preceding example, you can probably figure out this rule. Write the seasons of the year in lowercase, as well as the times of day.

Some books tell you to capitalize the abbreviations for morning and afternoon (A.M. and P.M.) and some specify lowercase (a.m. and p.m.). So no matter what you do, half your readers will think you’re right (the good news) and half will think you’re wrong (the bad news). Your best bet is to check with the authority overseeing your writing. If you’re the authority, do what you wish.

Choice Style Guide: Capitalization

Consult Webster’s.  If Webster’s says “often” or “mostly” or “usually,” capitalize.  If it says “sometimes,” use discretion.

Hyphenated compounds in proper names or in titles: per Chicago 16 ed., capitalize the second element (e.g., “A Two-Thirds Majority of Non-English-Speaking Representatives”). See Chicago 8.161 for exceptions to this rule.

Brand names that begin with a lower-case letter:  Retain the lower-case even when that name begins a sentence (e.g., “iPods are everywhere these days.”)

The specialized vocabulary of a particular discipline may include words that are capitalized only in that discipline, e.g., Other or Scripture (Bible studies).  If uncertain whether the capitalized form is generally accepted within that discipline, query the reviewer or someone else well qualified.

Capitalize the generally accepted names of historical periods and movements.

Capitalize the name of a specific art or architectural movement, group, or style (the Impressionism of Monet).

  Lowercase such a term when it is used in a general sense (John Manley’s paintings are impressionistic in manner).

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  The prefix neo is lowercased unless specifically adopted by a group or movement as part of its name: the Neo-Impressionism of Seurat, but John Manley works in a neo-Dada manner. 


Age of Reason ancient Greece antiquity anti-Semitism art nouveau baroque period Berlin Wall Bible biblical big bang Bronze Age classical period Civil Rights Movement Cold War Colonial (18th-century US) Common Core  communism communist Communist Party Confessing Church Counter Reformation cubism Dark Ages Enlightenment (18th-century philosophical movement) Epistles (as section of Bible or specific reference, i.e., Epistle to the Romans) euro (currency) Evangelical existentialism Expressionism fascism (general concept) fascist Fascism, Fascist Party (20th-century Italy) fauvism Festschrift Final Solution fin de siècle Gilded Age gold rush Golden Age Gospels Gothic (only in context of art and architecture; lowercase in reference to novels or films) Great Depression or the Depression Great Society (aka Lyndon Johnson's Great Society) Hellenistic period Impressionism Impressionist Industrial Revolution internet iPod left wing (n.) left-wing (adj.) the Left Listserv (trademark) Marxism Marxist Marxism-Leninism Middle Ages; High Middle Ages; late Middle Ages; early Middle Ages modernism Native American, Native naturalism the net New Criticism (context of literary criticism) New South (1865 ff.) New Testament New World Nobel Prize the North (US) Northern/Northerner (capped only in Civil War contexts) Old Testament Old World Open Source Initiative open source platform the Other pope Post-Impressionism postmodern Progressive Era (early-20th-century US movement) Progressive Party Progressives Populism (late-18th-century political movement) Populist Populist Party pro-choice Prohibition pro-life Reformation; Counter Reformation Renaissance; High Renaissance the Revolution (American) right wing (n.) right-wing (adj.) the Right Roaring Twenties Romanticism (18th-century movement) Romantic Semitism socialism socialist surrealism Ten Commandments Third World transcendentalism Victorian era war on terror the web webcast web page website Who's Who World Series

World Wide Web


Use the latest versions of Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and Chicago Manual of Style to check on capitalization of non-University-related words. Consult the Penn State Information section of this manual for the capitalization of University-related words. Whether to cap a word depends on many factors, including the word’s position in a sentence and its function.

armed forces/military titles

Full names of armies, navies, air forces, etc., are capitalized (U.S. Marine Corps, Royal Air Force, the British Navy, Army Corps of Engineers). The words army, navy, etc., are lowercased when not part of an official title.

See academic and administrative titles in the Penn State Information section for guidelines on capitalizing titles with names. The same rules apply for military titles, with two exceptions: General of the Army and Fleet Admiral, which are capped to avoid ambiguity.

astronomical terms

Capitalize the names of stars, satellites, planets, etc. Capitalize Earth when it is used as the planet name; lowercase when it is used to mean soil or when it is used in a phrase such as the earth sciences.

brand names, registered trademarks

Brand names and registered trademarks are capitalized: Band-Aid; Kleenex; Xerox; Styrofoam; Frisbee; Velcro.But whenever possible, use the generic term, such as adhesive bandage, tissue, photocopy.

buildings, other structure names

Names of buildings, thoroughfares, monuments, etc., are capitalized: the White House; the Capitol (when referring to the U.S. Capitol building); the Mall(including those on the University Park campus and in Washington, D.C.—not shopping malls).


Lowercase, even in campus names: Altoona campus, Shenango campus, University Park campus (see also Penn State campus names).

cardinal directions

north, south, east, west, central, southeastern, northwestern, central Pennsylvania; but the Northwest, the South, the Far East, the West Coast, the Eastern Seaboard. See the Chicago Manual for details.

college names within the University

Uppercase College when used as part of the proper name of a college; lowercase when used with the unofficial name of a college. Lowercase when used alone, whether it refers to a specific college or not.

  • They enrolled in the College of the Liberal Arts.
  • Belinda was most interested in the engineering college.
  • The college offered a number of psychology courses.


The word commencement is lowercased, as is the semester (spring commencement, fall commencement).

committee names

In general, committee names are not capped. However, if lowercasing a committee name confuses readers, cap it.


  1. Cap when referring to Pennsylvania.
  2. We are being asked to obey the laws of The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (note cap on The in this case; alone, make it the Commonwealth).
  3. Cap in vice president of Commonwealth Campuses.

Continuing Education/continuing education

  • Lowercase when referring to the function; cap when referring to the unit or program.
  • She wanted to enroll in the course to further her continuing education efforts.
  • The courses were part of Penn State’s Continuing Education program.
  • He received credits through Continuing Education at Penn State.

cultural movements, periods, and styles

  1. Numerical period designations are lowercased unless they are part of a proper name: eighteenth century (but Eighteenth Dynasty).

  2. In general, most historical or cultural period names are lowercased except for proper nouns and adjectives (baroque period, classical period, colonial period, romantic period; but Hellenistic period, Victorian era) or to avoid ambiguity (Bronze Age, Enlightenment, Middle Ages, Reformation, Renaissance).
  3. Capitalize names of cultural movements and styles if they are derived from proper nouns; otherwise they should be lowercased: Cynicism, Doric, Gothic, Neoplatonism, Pre-Raphaelite, Romanesque; but baroque, classical, cubism, Dadaism, modernism, neoclassicism, postmodernism, romanticism.

For more information, see section 8.85 of the Chicago Manual.

Dean’s List



  • Lowercase unless it is the first word in a contact line:
  • Robin considered his fax machine a good investment.
  • Contact Dr. Abramson at:
    Phone: 123-555-6789
  • Fax: 123-555-2468

federal, state


The program is awaiting state and federal funding.

Fortune 500

Be sure to cap. It is not necessary to italicize registered trademarks. (See the Chicago Manual.)

GI Bill

Caps and no periods on GI; cap Bill. Also, use the trademark symbol with “GI Bill,” per the U.S. Veterans Administration, to protect service members from confusion about the authenticity of information regarding educational benefits, etc., and to keep entities not involved directly with the VA from using it.


Cap when referring to Penn State’s Homecoming. Lowercase in general use:

June looked forward to her son’s homecoming.

musical notes and keys

For musical notes and keys, use roman caps for major and roman lowercase for minor. For clarity, use the words major and minor with the letters when naming keys.

One of Mozart’s best-known symphonies is in g minor.

middle C; key of G major; the D triad

Olympic, Olympic-size

Always cap.

op. and opus

Music reference—lowercase

Pennsylvania General Assembly

Capitalize, but do not cap the informal name, Pennsylvania legislature.

political parties, philosophies

Names of national and international political organizations, movements, and alliances and of members of political parties are capped, but not the wordsparty, movement, platform, etc.

Nouns and adjectives designating political and economic systems of thought and their proponents are lowercased, unless they come from a proper name.

In other words, the party is capped, the philosophy is not.

program names, academic majors

See fields of study, Penn State programs and option, major, program in the Penn State Information section.


Per Webster’s Eleventh. Cap when referring to a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Use real estate agent if you’re not sure.

scientific and medical terms

See sections 8.127–8.152 of the Chicago Manual for guidelines on capping scientific and medical terms.

seasons of the year; semesters; holidays

The four seasons are lowercased. Semesters are lowercased: fall semester, spring break, summer session. Religious holidays are capitalized, as are most secular holidays. The session between spring semester and summer session is called Maymester, and is capitalized because of “May,” the name of the month it occurs.

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senate, congress

Lowercase when used alone.

Social Security

Cap the words Social Security only. Do not cap number, tax, office, etc.

A student’s Social Security number no longer doubles as his/her student ID number.

I tried to reach the Social Security office all afternoon.


Capitalize The when used as part of the University’s full name: The Pennsylvania State University.

Also cap when used as part of the following names: Penn State Erie, The Behrend College; Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus; The Four Diamonds Fund; The Nittany Lion Inn; The Mary Jean and Frank P.

Smeal College of Business Administration; The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel; The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Otherwise, do not cap the as part of the name of an organization, newspaper, etc.

titles of departments and administrative areas

On first mention, use the full name of the department or administrative area and cap all words except prepositions. On subsequent reference, when only a partial name is used, lowercase.

The Department of University Publications prepared this manual.

The University publications department provides editing and design services for Penn State.

titles of works

Cap all words except prepositions, unless the writer did otherwise or the style manual requires otherwise. See the Chicago Manual for a more complete listing of capitalization rules for titles.

Capitalization – UMBC Brand and Style Guide – UMBC

Board of Regents  I  Buildings  I  Cities and Counties  I  Classes and Courses  I  Committees  I  Degrees  I  Grade Point Average  I  Historical Periods  I  Honors  I  Offices, Colleges, Departments, Etc.  I  Race  I  Regions  I  Seasons  I  State  I  Students  I  The  I  Titles  I  Titles of Works  I  University

Board of Regents

Uppercase full title; otherwise lowercase.

  • The USM Board of Regents met at UMBC…
  • The regents approved a new arts building.


Capitalize the full names of specific buildings, centers, laboratories, libraries, and offices. On second reference, if no proper name is used, lowercase building, center, laboratory, library and office.

  • The meeting will take place in the Administration Building. The building is located….

Examples of buildings with unusual capitalization:

Cities and Counties

Capitalize the full name of the city, but lowercase in other cases.

Names of counties should not be abbreviated.

Classes and Courses

Capitalize specific classes and courses; otherwise lowercase.

  • I am teaching Anatomy and Physiology this semester.
  • I am teaching an anatomy class this semester.


Capitalize names of specific committees.


Capitalize the full name of a degree, as well as its abbreviation (outside of a sentence). See more rules about degree listings.

  • Master of Fine Arts in Imaging and Digital Arts
  • M.F.A. in Imaging and Digital Arts

Lowercase should be used when the degree is referred to in a general sense.

  • master’s degree
  • She has a degree in political science.
  • The political science degree offers….

Grade Point Average

Do not capitalize except when abbreviating as GPA.

Historical Periods

Capitalize historical periods. Spell out first through ninth centuries and use numbers for 10th and above with century in lowercase.

  • the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the first century, the 19th century


Lowercase and italicize cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude.

Offices, Colleges, Departments, Etc

Capitalize the names of departments, programs, offices, colleges, and schools when referred to specifically and/or full title is used. Lowercase if no proper name is used.

  • College of Engineering
  • Office of Undergraduate Admissions
  • undergraduate admissions office
  • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • chemistry and biochemistry department
  • The department offers….
  • Public Policy Graduate Program
  • The program is….
  • The college decided…


Capitalize the names of nationalities, peoples, races, tribes, etc. Lowercase black, white when used to refer to races.


Uppercase North, South, East, West when referring to regions; lowercase when referring to compass points.

  • The university is located in the Northeast.
  • The building is north of Wilkens Avenue.


Lowercase spring, summer, fall and winter. Lowercase references to semesters.


Lowercase the word state.


Lowercase freshman, sophomore, junior and senior.

  • The freshman class was the largest in 10 years.


In titles of publications such as newspapers and magazines, “the” is capitalized, underlined or italicized only if considered part of the proper name.

  • The New York Times article on President Freeman Hrabowski…
  • UMBC initiatives have been featured frequently in the Baltimore Business Journal…


Capitalize titles that immediately precede a person’s name. Lowercase titles used in a general sense or if only a part of the title is used.

  • President Freeman Hrabowski….
  • Freeman Hrabowski, president of UMBC….
  • Associate Professor Jane Doe….
  • Jane Doe, associate professor….
  • John Doe, a professor of mathematics at UMBC….
  • John Doe, a professor at UMBC….
  • The vice president said….

Titles of Works

Capitalize the first letter of the following examples:

  • nouns
  • pronouns
  • adjectives
  • verbs
  • adverbs
  • subordinating conjunctions (if, because, as, that, etc.)

Lowercase the following examples:

  • articles (a, an, the)
  • coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor, so, yet)
  • prepositions


Uppercase when referring to the official name of an institution.

  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Lowercase when referred to in a general sense.

  • university president Freeman Hrabowski

Capitalization Rules in English | A Quick Guide & Examples

In English, a capital letter is used for the first word of a sentence and for all proper nouns (words that name a specific person, place, organization, or thing).

In some cases, capitalization is also required for the first word in a quotation and the first word after a colon.

Capitalization rules





Names (and words derived from them); nationalities; titles when used as part of a name

  • the works of Aristotle
  • a Freudian psychoanalyst
  • the Brazilian actor
  • the campaign of Senator Sanders
Occupations; titles when not used as part of a name

  • the magazine’s managing editor
  • an elderly professor
  • the left-wing senator
Names of specific continents, countries, states, cities, regions, monuments and landmarks

  • South America
  • the West Coast of the US
  • the Eiffel Tower
  • the River Thames
Directions and general areas

  • head north
  • the west of the city
  • the longest river in the world
Days of the week and months of the year; historical eras and named events; holidays

  • a Monday in July
  • the Middle Ages
  • the Napoleonic Wars
  • Christmas Day
Centuries, decades, seasons

  • an eighteenth-century painting
  • the fashion of the fifties
  • a summer vacation
  • Organizations, companies and brand names
  • Religions and deities
  • Planets
  • Languages
  • Animal and plant species
  • Elements
  • Minerals
  • Theories and models
  • Medical conditions

Recognizing proper nouns

A proper noun is the specific name of a person, place, organization, or thing. All proper nouns (as well as adjectives derived from them) should be capitalized.

Michelle Obama, the former first lady, was raised in Chicago and is a graduate of Harvard Law School.

A common noun, on the other hand, refers to a general, non-specific category or entity. Common nouns are not normally capitalized (unless they are the first word of a sentence or part of a title).

Monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy are forms of government classified according to which people have the authority to rule.

Editorial Guide

This page includes:


The Hunter College Editorial Style Guide is designed to support Hunter College employees and contributors who create and maintain content for the website.

This guide aims to:

  • ensure correctness and consistency in punctuation, spelling and grammar
  • establish standards for clear and consistent writing
  • send a professional message to users/readers
  • ensure a unified brand and web presence

While this guide was created to address the most common questions and copy issues, please refer to the latest edition of the Associated Press Style Book (fees apply) and/or Webster's Collegiate Dictionary for further guidance on more specific issues.

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Please note that these guidelines are specific to Hunter College and may vary from other recommended writing styles. Additionally, these guidelines are intended for use with news, marketing and promotional materials only; they should not be referred to when writing academic or scholarly essays.

If you cannot find what you are looking for or if you have any additional questions, comments or suggestions for this guide, please contact the Hunter College Communications Office at [email protected].

Acronyms and Abbreviations

  • Avoid using abbreviations unless they are universally recognized (e.g., AIDS, GPA, NASA, IBM, SSN, RSVP, ASAP, CEO, SAT).
  • If an abbreviation is not universally recognized, spell out the organization’s name on first use, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses if you intend to use the abbreviation later in the document.

Academic Degrees

  • Abbreviations for degrees should be written without periods and spaces between letters.
  • Degrees offered at Hunter: BA, BFA, BA/MA, BMus, BS, DPT, MA, MFA, MPT, MS, MSEd, MSW, PhD
  • Use an apostrophe in “bachelor's degree” and “master's degree” when spelled out.

Academic Years and Semesters


This article is about capitalization in written languages, including languages other than English. For other uses, see Capitalization (disambiguation).
See also: Capitalization in English
The capital letter “A” in the Latin alphabet followed by its lowercase equivalent, in sans serif and serif typefaces, respectively

Capitalization (North American English) or capitalisation (British English)[1] is writing a word with its first letter as a capital letter (uppercase letter) and the remaining letters in lower case, in writing systems with a case distinction. The term also may refer to the choice of the casing applied to text.

Conventional writing systems (orthographies) for different languages have different conventions for capitalization, for example the capitalization of titles. Conventions also vary, to a lesser extent, between different style guides.

The full rules of capitalization for English are complicated. The rules have also changed over time, generally to capitalize fewer words. The conventions used in an 18th-century document will be unfamiliar to a modern reader; for instance many common nouns are capitalized.

The systematic use of capitalized and uncapitalized words in running text is called “mixed case”.

Parts of speech

Owing to the essentially arbitrary nature of orthographic classification and the existence of variant authorities and local house styles, questionable capitalization of words is not uncommon, even in respected newspapers and magazines. Most publishers require consistency, at least within the same document, in applying a specified standard: this is described as “house style”.


  • In English, the subjective form of the singular first-person pronoun, “I”, is capitalized, along with all its contractions such as I'll and I'm. Objective and possessive forms “me”, “my”, and “mine” are not.
  • Many European languages traditionally capitalize nouns and pronouns used to refer to God, including references to Jesus Christ (reverential capitals): hallowed be Thy name, look what He has done. Some English authors capitalize any word referring to God: the Lamb, the Almighty; some capitalize “Thy Name”. These practices have become much less common in English in the 20th and 21st centuries.
    • In the Bahai Scriptures, singular and plural object, subject, and possessive forms get capitalization if referring to a Rasul, the Twelve Imams, or 'Abdu'l-Baha.
  • Some languages capitalize a royal we (pluralis majestatis), e.g. it is capitalized in German.

2nd person pronouns

Many languages distinguish between formal and informal 2nd person pronouns.

  • In German, the formal 2nd person plural pronoun Sie is capitalized along with all its case-forms (Ihre, Ihres, etc.), but these words are not capitalized when used as 3rd person feminine singular or plural pronouns. Until the recent German spelling reform(s), the traditional rules (which are still widely adhered to, although not taught in schools) also capitalized the informal 2nd person singular pronoun Du (and its derivatives, such as Dein) when used in letters or similar texts, but this is no longer required.
  • Italian also capitalizes its formal pronouns, Lei and Loro, and their cases (even within words, e.g. arrivederLa “goodbye”, formal). This is occasionally also done for the Dutch U, though this is formally only required when referring to a deity and may be considered archaic.
  • In Spanish, the abbreviations of the pronouns usted and ustedes, Ud., Uds., Vd., and Vds., are usually written with a capital.
  • In Finnish, the second-person plural pronoun can be used when formally addressing a single person, and in writing the pronoun is sometimes capitalized as Te to indicate special regard. In a more familiar tone, one can also capitalize the second-person singular pronoun Sinä.[2]
  • Similarly, in Russian the formal second-person pronoun Вы, and its oblique cases Вас, Вам etc., are capitalized (usually in personal correspondence); also in Bulgarian.
  • Slovenian, Croatian, Serbian capitalize the formal second-person pronoun Vi along with its oblique cases (Vas, Vam, Vami) and personal pronoun (Vaš etc.) in formal correspondence. Historically, the familiar second-person pronoun ti and its cases (tebe, tebi, teboj) were capitalized as well, but new orthography prohibits such use.
  • In Danish, the plural second-person pronoun, I, is capitalized, but its other forms jer and jeres are not. This distinguishes it from the preposition i (“in”). The formal second-person pronoun is also capitalized in all its forms (De, Dem, Deres), distinguishing it from the otherwise identical third-person plural pronouns.
  • In Norwegian, both second person singular and plural have a capitalized alternative form (De, Dem, Deres in Bokmål; De, Dykk, Dykkar in Nynorsk) to express formality for both subject and object of a sentence, but is very rarely used in modern speech and writing.
  • In formally written Polish, Czech, Slovak and Latvian, most notably in letters and e-mails, all pronouns referring to the addressee are capitalized. This includes Ty (“thou”) and all its related forms such as Twój and Ciebie. This principle extends to nouns used formally to address the addressee of a letter, such as Pan (“sir”) and Pani (“madam”).[citation needed]
  • In Indonesian, capitalizing the formal second-person pronoun Anda along with all references to the addressee, such as “(kepada) Bapak/Ibu” ((to) Sir/Madam), is required in practice of Ejaan Yang Disempurnakan (Perfected Orthography).[3] However, some people do not know of or choose not to adhere to this spelling rule. In contrast, Malay orthography used in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei does not require the capitalization of anda.
  • In Tagalog and its standard form, Filipino, the formal second-person pronouns Kayo and Ninyo and their oblique form Inyo are customarily and reverentially capitalized as such, particularly in most digital and printed media related to religion and its references. Purists who consider this rule as nonstandard and inconsistent do not apply it when writing.
  • In Tajik, capitalization is used to distinguish the second person formal pronoun Шумо from the second person plural pronoun шумо.
  • In Swedish, since du-reformen, the second person singular pronoun du may be capitalized as Du when addressed formally.


  • The various languages and dialects in the High German family, including Standard German and Luxembourgish, are the only major languages using the Latin alphabet in which all nouns are generally capitalized. This was also practiced in other Germanic languages (mainly due to German influence):
    • In German, all nouns are capitalized.[4]
    • Danish, before the spelling reform of 1948
    • Swedish, during the 17th and 18th centuries[5]
    • English, during the 17th and 18th centuries[6] (as in Gulliver's Travels, and most of the original 1787 United States Constitution)
    • Some regional languages, such as Saterland Frisian

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