At Proofed, a common problem we see in writing is incorrect or inconsistent capitalisation. As such, to help you avoid errors, we have put together this quick guide to when (and when not) to capitalise words in your writing.\n\nWhat to Capitalise\nAs well as the first letter of the first word in a sentence, make sure to capitalise proper nouns in your work. These words name a unique person or thing. As such, words you will typically need to capitalise in your writing include:\n\n\n \tPeople\u2019s names (e.g. Florence, David, Musa, Fatima)\n \tRoles or titles used alongside a name (e.g. 'Queen Elizabeth II' or 'Professor Davies', since these are specific people, but 'a queen of England' and 'a professor of neuroscience')\n \tNames of places, cities, towns, locations, and the people\/languages from them (e.g. America, Chicago, Italy, Italian)\n \tOrganisations, companies, institutions, etc. (e.g. Catholicism)\n \tProducts and brand names (e.g. Colgate, but not 'toothpaste')\n \tSpecial dates and periods (e.g. Christmas Eve, the Bronze Age)\n \tKey historical events (e.g. World War II, the Boston Tea Party)\n \tNames of laws and official documents (e.g. the Bill of Rights)\n \tCertain religious terms (e.g. the Lord, Allah, the Holy Trinity, God)\n \tNames of ships or aircraft (e.g. the Enola Gay, HMS Ark Royal)\n\nIn addition, it is common to capitalise certain words in titles and subtitles. This will depend on the style of title used, but you should always capitalise the first letters of titles, subtitles, and proper nouns. Many style guides also recommend citing 'major words' (e.g. nouns, verbs, pronouns) and using lower case for other terms (e.g. prepositions and articles). For more on capitalising titles, see our post on the topic.\n\nWhen No Capitalisation Is Required\nAs a rule, with common nouns (i.e. all nouns other than proper nouns), you won't need to capitalise a word unless it appears at the start of a sentence.\nCommon errors in this respect include capitalising:\n\n\n \tNames of seasons (e.g. spring, summer, autumn, winter)\n \tAcademic subject names (e.g. chemistry, maths)\n \tJob roles when not used in a title (e.g. chief executive)\n\nThese are all common nouns, so do not usually start with a capital letter.\nYou should also take care when using more than one proper noun in a sentence. In these cases, you may need to drop a capital letter from a shared term. For example, you would say 'Lake Tahoe and Lake Huron'. But this would change to 'lakes Tahoe and Huron' if you grouped them together because 'lakes' becomes generic.\nYou can capitalise other terms and phrases in some cases, but you must apply your judgement to determine whether or not this is necessary.\u00a0 Regardless, the style adopted must be applied consistently throughout your work.\nIf you are worried about any aspect of your essay\u00a0or dissertation, including the referencing, grammar, or how to present it on the page, why not send it to the experts? We will even proofread a 500-word sample for free, so you can see what a big difference our service can make to your academic writing!