A simple Guide To Punctuation and Capitalization Rules

A guide to Punctuation and Capitalization Rules

Capitalization Rules:

  1. The first word of every sentence
  2. The first word of every direct quotation
  3.  Every important word/s in a title
  4. Proper names of people, places, cities, countries, streets, languages, races, and nationalities.

Ex: Grandfather  – Japan – Brown – Indian – English – Uganda – Oriental

  1. Names of particular people or things, but not general ones

Ex: I spoke to Professor Smith. I spoke to the professor.

  1. Names of months, days of the week, and special days, but not the seasons

               Ex: February – First of July – Wednesday – Thanksgiving,  but not spring – summer

Punctuation Marks Rules:

We use The full stop (.) in three cases: (to end a sentence, abbreviations, with numbers.)

We use The question mark (?) after an interrogative question.

We use the exclamation mark (!) to express feelings and emotions.

The apostrophe () is used with contractions: (do not = don’t) and to indicate possession (bob’s car is very fast).

Colon (:) is used:

  • To start a quotation. She said: “She won’t be here next Monday.”
  • Between two independent clauses if the second one summarizes or explains the first.

Ex: Bella and I listened to music, played football, danced in the hall, and played chess: we had a great time.

  • Between title and subtitle. Ex: College life: how to succeed as a student.

Quotation marks (“…”) are used in the following cases:

  • To identify the exact words of the speaker. Start the quote with a capital letter. Ex: He said, “Close the door”.
  • To set off the titles of short works.
Use quotation marksUse underlines
The song, “isn’t it a pity?”

The episode of cheers, Diane’s worst day

The television show, Cheers

The magazine, lifestyle


  • Commas, periods, question marks, exclamation marks that come at the end of a quotation should go inside the quotation marks.
  • If the quotation is split into two parts, the 2nd part doesn’t begin with a capital letter unless it begins a 2nd
  • If the words are the speaker’s exact words, do not use quotation marks.
  • Usually the quotation marks within other quotation marks are reduced to (‘) instead of (“) to distinguish them from one another.

Commas (,) is used in the following cases:

  • We use a comma to join two compound sentences (before the coordinating conjunction = FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet and so). Ex: I want to stay, but you want to go.
  • We use a comma between items in a series: Ex: I bought a laptop, a smartphone, and a desktop.
  • We use a comma after an introductory expression, phrase, or clause in a sentence.

Examples of using a comma in sentences:

Yesterday, I didn’t sleep well. (Word)

On Fridays, I stay at home. (Phrase)

When the time comes, we will move to the city. (Subordinate clause).

  • We use a comma around the names of a person spoken to or addressed.

Ex: 1)- Rick, bring that into the classroom. 2)- I know, Bob, that you are missing them.

  • We use a comma around an expression that interrupts the flow of the sentence.

Ex: 1)- the fact, therefore, does not support your argument. 2)- I wish, however, that I could go for the weekend.

  • We use a comma around non-essential ideas

Ex:  1)- The students who passed with flying colors benefited from a training program.

        2)– The old man and sea, a novel by Ernest Hemingway, is one of my favorite literary works.


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