September 1, 2019 74

When to use CAPITAL LETTERS in English

When to use CAPITAL LETTERS in English


Hi. I’m Rebecca from engVid, and this
lesson is about confusing capitals. Now, usually when you learn the rules of English
capitalization, certain words are always capitalized. Okay? For example, the first word in a sentence, the
word “I”, the names of people and places, and so on. Okay? Some words are always capitalized, but in
this lesson I’m not going to review all of the rules of capitalization, but I am going
to show you about when to capitalize certain words and when not to capitalize them, because
sometimes the same words are capitalized in one context, but not capitalized
in another context. But it’s not hard to understand;
it’s actually very easy. Okay? So I’m going to explain
it to you right now. Let’s get started. So, the first one is in the
area of a subject or a course. For example, if we’re talking about a subject
that you study, for example, algebra, then you do not capitalize it. For example, if you say: “I’m
studying algebra this year.” Okay? So you’re just talking about the subject,
and therefore it’s not capitalized. But if you’re talking about the subject as a
course, as the name of a course, then you do capitalize it. Okay? For example: “This year
I’m taking Algebra 101.” Okay? That’s the name of that course,
so you do capitalize it then. Okay? Let’s look at another example. “She’s studying psychology. This year she’s studying… She’s taking Psychology 201.” Or: “She’s enrolled in the
Psychology 201 class.” Okay? Excuse me. All right. Another example: “I would like to
study business in university.” Okay? The person is being very general,
just talking about the subject. But: “This year I’m taking a
course called Global Business.” Okay? Now you’re giving the name
of the course, right? So what’s the rule here? If we’re just talking about the general subject,
no capital; if we’re talking about the course, then yes, we do capitalize it. Okay? All right. There is one little exception: When we’re talking
about languages, and this is always true. So if you’re studying French or whether you’re
taking French 101, you’re always going to capitalize the name
of a language. Okay? And that’s just because in English we always
capitalize the name of a language; doesn’t matter which one. Okay? That’s it. All right. Now, when it comes to places,
let’s look at how it works. So, for example, if I say:
“She works in a bank.” Okay? A bank, the bank, it’s just the
place, the building or whatever. Okay? The business. So then it’s not capitalized. But if I say: “She works at the Brookfield
Bank”, now I gave you the name of the bank, so therefore it is capitalized. Okay? Because, again, the name of something is
capitalized; the name of a person, or a place. Right? So then it will be capitalized. Or I say: “I went
to the library.” Okay? “I often study at the library.” Okay? Just a library in
general, not capitalized. Or: “I often visit the
Toronto Public Library.” Now I’m giving you the name
of a specific library, right? So, of course, it
gets capitalized. Got it? Okay. Or: “He goes to university.” Okay? He’s in university, just a regular
word so we don’t capitalize it. But: “He got admission to
the University of Oxford.” Okay, now we’re giving the name of the
university, so you do have to capitalize it. Okay? Got it? All right. So I hope that’s
pretty clear so far. All right? So when we’re giving the name of a course or
we’re giving a name of the particular place, like a bank, a library, university, a school, a
business-right?-then you’re going to capitalize it; and otherwise,
in general, not. Okay. Now let’s look when we’re talking
about professions and titles. So, the rule is like this: If
you’re just talking about… Let’s say: “I went
to see the doctor.” Okay? Or: “I need to see a doctor.” So if before the profession you say the word
“a” or “the”-okay?-then you don’t capitalize it because you’re just talking about a doctor
in general; you’re not giving the name of the doctor, you’re not
saying which doctor. So, here we just say: “I
need to see a doctor.” Or: “I have an appointment with Dr.
Patel.” Now this is the name
of the doctor, right? So then we need to capitalize the “D” for
“Doctor” and, of course, his or her name. All right? Next: “I would like to
speak to the professor.” Okay? “The professor”, again, general, so no capital,
but here: “You need to make an appointment to see Professor Brown.” All right? So here, now we’re talking about a specific
professor, and so it is capitalized, the word “Professor” and, of
course, his or her name. Got it? Okay. Now, also, when we’re talking
about any kind of position, okay? For example, sales manager, human resources
manager: “She’s the sales manager. She’s the human
resources manager. She’s the personnel manager.” Okay? “She’s the production manager.” Or “he”, all right? Then you don’t capitalize it. Okay? Because you’re just talking
about that job in general. But if you’re… In these kind of contexts most
often you do capitalize it. For example, if you write: “John
Williams, Sales Manager.” Now let’s suppose this is on a business card,
then yes, you will capitalize “Sales Manager”. If this is at the end
of your email, right? “John Williams, Sales Manager”, it’s like a
signature, then yes again, you do capitalize it. Okay? Also if somebody’s writing
an address, okay? “John Williams, Sales Manager,
Microsoft”, whatever. Okay? Now, again, that title
is capitalized. Okay? So keep that in mind. And regarding these other words up here, when
there’s a direct conversation going on and if you write it down… If you were to write it down,
it would be capitalized. What do I mean? For example, if I said: “What do
you think we should do, Doctor?” Okay? Now, I’m talking to a
particular doctor, right? Probably let’s say to this Dr. Patel, so then
I would say: “What do you think we should do”, comma, capital
“D”, “Doctor?” Okay? Or: “What do you
suggest, Professor?” And I’m talking to Professor Brown, so then
in that case we would capitalize that word “Professor” or that
word “Doctor”. Got it? Or: “Thanks for all
your help, Dad?” Okay? Comma, “Dad”. Now, “Dad” is the
name I’m giving. Okay? And I’m calling him by that name,
so therefore I would capitalize it. But if I say here: “I went… I went fishing with my dad.” Okay? So then you wouldn’t
capitalize it. Okay? But if I say: “I went fishing with Dad”, now
it’s the name-okay?-then we would capitalize it. All right? So I hope you understand
that difference. So, regarding subjects and courses, places and
names of places, and professions and titles. Okay? So these are some areas where sometimes capitals
can be confused until now, but now you understand much better. Next we’re going to be looking at another area,
which is the titles of books, and movies, and reports, and all kinds
of interesting things. Okay? So, I’ll be right
back with that. Okay, so now let’s look at something a little bit
more detailed, but not hard; you can understand it. Okay? And that is: What to do when we’re writing
the names of books, movies, shows, songs, reports, or articles. Okay? Now, what happens here is there are a few
different major style guides, like the MLA, the AP, and others, and they do vary; some
of the rules are different, so what’s most important is if you’re at a university, or
a school, or a business, or something like that, it’s very important to know what
style you are expected to follow. Okay? Especially in university, they’re going to
tell you exactly which rules to follow when it comes to handing in your assignment and
putting the title for your report, or your assignment, or your
article, or whatever. Okay? So in that case please follow whatever they
tell you, and not necessarily what I’m telling you here. But in general, this is… What I’m going to tell you here is something
called “Title Case Capitalization”, which is the general rule that is followed most
of the time and that you will see most of the time when you look at books, or names
of movies, and shows, and songs, and things like that.
Okay? So, let’s learn what it is. It’s really not very hard. It seems a little hard in the beginning, especially
for people whose languages don’t have any capitals at all. Okay? There are many languages where there are no capital
letters, and therefore English capitalization sometimes seems like a bit of a challenge
and kind of crazy, and therefore sometimes people go in two different directions; sometimes
they capitalize too much and sometimes they capitalize too little, but there is a
logic to it and you can understand. Okay? So let’s see the logic of this. So, when we’re talking about these kind of
areas, what’s important is that we usually capitalize nouns, verbs, adjectives,
and adverbs in these kind of formats. Okay? And we do not capitalize articles,
or prepositions, or conjunctions. And, of course, by articles I mean, like:
“a”, “and”, “the”; prepositions: “in”, “at”, “on”, things like that; and
conjunctions: “but”, “with”. Okay? So… Sorry. “But”, “and”.
Okay? So these are usually not capitalized;
those are usually capitalized. An exception is if any of these are
the first word or the last word. Okay? So let’s look now at some examples so you
can actually understand how this works. Let’s look at the name
of a famous movie, okay? “Star Wars”. So what was capitalized there? The “S” and the “W”. Okay? Two words, one is an
adjective, one is a noun. “Star Wars”, so those two
letters were capitalized. But let’s look at the name of another
famous movie: “Return of the Jedi”. So, here, look what happened. The first letter is
always capitalized. Okay? That doesn’t matter what. So, that one is capitalized; “of” is not capitalized,
because it’s one on the other side; “the”, no; and “Jedi”, yes. Okay? So you’ll see that: “Return” and “Jedi” are
capitalized, and the other smaller words – the prepositions, the articles,
things like that, no. Next, let’s look at the
name of a famous show. Two famous shows. “Designated Survivor”.
Okay? So here the “D” and
the “S” are capital. All right? That stars one of our favourite
Canadians, Kiefer Sutherland. Okay? Hope you’ve caught that show. And here’s another show:
“Life in Pieces”. So, now here, what do we see? The “L” is capitalized, again, it’s the first
letter; “in”, preposition, not capitalized; and “Pieces”, yes capitalized
because it’s the last word. Usually the last word in title case
capitalization is capitalized. Okay? Next, let’s look at the
titles of a couple of books. “The Alchemist”.
Okay? Now, here, even though it’s an article, remember
if it comes first, then it’s going to be capital. Right? So here it’s capitalized and
“Alchemist” is capitalized. And here’s the title of another famous
book, an older book: “Catcher in the Rye”. So here the first “C” is capitalized; “in”,
“the”-okay?-preposition, article, not capitalized; “Rye”, last word,
yes capitalized. Okay? Are you with me? Good. Okay. Let’s look at the
name of a report. Okay? And let’s say the report I wrote is about
“Capitalization Rules”, or an assignment-okay?-that I wrote about
capitalization rules. So, here, first word, capitalization,
yes; and the “R”, yes. But in this one: “Rules of Capitalization”, the first
word “R”, yes; “of”, no; and “Capitalization”, yes. Okay? Are you beginning to see the
pattern and how it works? I think if you look at this side
you will see, and the same here. Let’s look at a
name of an article. Okay? “The Ideal Job”. Again, “The” is capitalized
because it’s the first word. All right? The “T”; “Ideal”, it’s an adjective, it’s
capitalized; “Job” is a noun, it’s capitalized. Okay? But let’s look at another way of giving this
same title: “How to Get the Ideal Job”. So, the first word: “How”, yes; “to”, no;
“Get”, verb, yes; “the”, article, no; “Ideal”, adjective, yes;
“Job”, noun, yes. Okay? So, I hope you’re beginning to see a lot of
patterns here that will help you to see: “Okay, that’s what’s going on. Okay, I didn’t understand why some of those words
were capitalized and some of them weren’t.” But now you do. Right? You’re so much smarter now than when you
started watching this a few minutes ago. All right. So, of course, I hope you’ll be able
to use this in your own writing. And, of course, if you’re doing an exam like
the IELTS or the TOEFL, or any other exam, or if you’re submitting reports at
work, if you’re submitting reports… Assignments in university, or any of these
situations, that from now on you will know… Also, by the way, if you’re writing a cover
letter or your resume, again, these kind of rules can be very, very important, so now
you’ll know how to go about it a little bit better. But in order to master it, please go
to our website and do the quiz there. Okay? Because you want to make sure
that you really understood it. It’s not enough to always listen to something
once; you have to always practice. So, go to our website, please, at www.engvid.com;
there, you can do that quiz, you can check out more than a thousand lessons that we have,
and maybe you can look for what exactly you need, whether it’s business, or you’re preparing for
an exam, or you want to improve your pronunciation or something else. Okay? You can check that out. And don’t forget to subscribe to my channel
for lots of other useful lessons that will shorten your path to
improving your English. Okay? Thanks very much for watching. Bye for now, and all the
best with your English. Bye.

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