Capital Letters and Full stops: Usage Guide.

There are English language rules that define when to use a capital letter and full stop. Common knowledge is that a capital letter begins a sentence, while a full stop ends it. But that’s not all! This article elaborates on the use of capital letters and full stops.

Capital Letters and Full Stops

It is essential to learn how to use capital letter and full stop in writing to ensure you get a clear message across. The following capital letter and full stop usage guide will give you a deeper explanation of how to incorporate them in your writing.

Uses of Capital Letter

Capital letters and their usage can be a tricky subject. Spending some time to become familiar with their rules can be beneficial and ensure the credibility of your writings. Capital letters begin sentences but can appear in other parts of sentences. Some of its uses are:

1. To Start a Sentence

In every sentence, the first word must begin with a capital letter.


  • She likes singing.
  • The boy dances well.
  • He is a skilled soccer player.
  • My dog has a broken leg.
  • I am a popular TV personality.

2. For Proper Nouns

Proper nouns include names of people and places. No matter where they appear in sentences, they should be capitalized.


  • Jane schools in London.
  • Mount Everest is Earth’s highest mountain.

However, caution should be taken, even when referring to a specific place or thing. Do not capitalize when you use a more general noun than a proper noun.

  • Jerry studies at Stanford University in California.
  • Jerry studies at California’s finest university.

In the first sentence, university occurs as a proper noun and begins with a capital letter. In the second, ‘university,’ is a general noun and does not begin with a capital letter.

3. When you use the word ‘I.’

Capitalize the word ‘I’ in sentences, even if it comes in the middle or the end.

  • I am a genius scientist.
  • James and I attend the summer lessons at school.
  • Should I pick up your clothes from the laundryman?

4. Titles of Book, Heading, and Movies.

When writing titles, capitalize only the essential words, not minor ones like ‘and’ or ‘but.’

  • Have you read the book Pride and Prejudice?
  • This movie, Three Days of the Condor, is my favorite.
  • My instructor asked me to write about the Power of Humanity.

5. Months of the year, Days of the Week, Special Events.

Another rule that applies is to capitalize the first word for the names of days and months.

  • Meryl Streep was born on the third of September.
  • I take grammar classes on Mondays.
  • Fridays are sports days at my school.
  • January is the month that starts the year.
  • Christmas is my best time of the year.

6. Acronyms

Acronyms are words formed from the initial letters of a longer phrase/word. Always write acronyms in capital letters to indicate that they are not complete words. Examples of acronyms are ABC, NAFTA, NASA, and NATO.

Uses of Full stop

A full stop signals that a sentence is complete. It is often utilized in written communication like in textbooks, novels, and newspapers. Some of the uses of the full stop are:

1. To end a sentence.

The full stop is used to denote an end of a sentence. It ends commands, statements, or mild interjections. A sentence fragment results when a full stop appears at the end of dependent clauses or incomplete phrases.


  • The majority of my family members are tall.
  • When I’m in Ms. Meyer’s class, I get excited.
  • Rebecca, go empty the trash bin.

2. To end reported questions.

Unlike normal questions, reported questions end in full stops.

  • Mr. Steven asked me why I missed school yesterday.
  • John asked if I was hungry.

3. After abbreviations and initials.

Abbreviations are often marked with full stops. For instance, etc. (et cetera), e.g. (for example), Mr. (Mister), Prof. (Professor), Dr. (Doctor). A full stop also appears between initials. For example, U.K. (United Kingdom), A.A. McCarthy (Anthony Adam McCarthy).

person holding on red pen while writing on book
Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash

To Wrap Up

The decision of when and how to use capital letters and full stops can be confusing and tricky. Capital letters and full stops are used in quite several contexts – but you must know the rules. You need to use them the right way to make sure you are understood, and you don’t confuse your readers. This usage guide on the capital letter and full stops will help you.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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