Punctuation Quiz #21: Capitalization

By Mark Nichol

Correct the capitalization in the following sentences.

1. Next sunday will be our fifth Anniversary.

2. My best school subjects are History, french, math, and Physics.

3. Sallie bought new curtains for her French windows.

4. When we visit Rome, we hope to obtain an audience with the pope.

5. London and paris were already centers of culture in the middle ages.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: Next sunday will be our fifth Anniversary.
Correct : Next Sunday will be our fifth anniversary.

In English, days of the week are capitalized. Common nouns, like “anniversary” are not.

2.
Original: My best school subjects are History, french, math, and Physics.
Correct : My best school subjects are history, French, math, and physics.

Languages are capitalized, but other school subjects are not.

3.
Original: Sallie bought new curtains for her French windows.
Correct : Sallie bought new curtains for her french windows.

Although capitalized in other contexts, “french” is not capitalized here because “french windows” refers to a certain type of window. The same usage would apply to “russian dressing” and “danish pastry.”

4.
Original: When we visit Rome, we hope to obtain an audience with the pope.
Correct : When we visit Rome, we hope to obtain an audience with the Pope.

The word “pope” is capitalized here because it refers to a person who bears the title.

5.
Original: London and paris were already centers of culture in the middle ages.
Correct : London and Paris were already centers of culture in the Middle Ages.

Names of cities are capitalized, as are distinctive historical periods.

Recommended for you: « ยป



7 Responses to “Punctuation Quiz #21: Capitalization”

  • Dale A. Wood

    This is something that is often confused about and not done correctly:
    The names of species of animals and plants are all common nouns (not capitalized) unless the contain proper nouns or proper adjectives. Therefore, all of these are exceptions to the rule:
    Adele penguin, Andean condor, African wild ass, Arabian wild ass, Arabian oryx
    Burmese tiger, Bactrian camel,
    California gray whale, Canada goose, Canada lynx, California sea lion, California condor, Cape buffalo (named for the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Agulhas of South Africa),
    Douglas fir,
    Eurasian lynx, Eurasian brown bear,
    Galapagos tortoise, Galapagos penguin,
    Japanese beetle,
    Kodiak bear,
    Mexican wolf (a.k.a., the lobo), Mongolian wild ass,
    Nubian wild ass (the most likely ancestor of the domesticated donkey),
    Pacific bottlenose dolphin,
    Ross seal,
    Siberian tiger, Syrian wild ass (a.k.a. Bashar al-Asad)
    Tasmanian devil, Tasmanian tiger,
    Weddell seal,

  • Dale A. Wood

    These are supposed to be far better than any other kinds:
    Danish ham, double-Dutch jump-roping, French champagne, French toast made with French bread, German sauerkraut, Hungarian goulash, Irish ale, Italian pasta, Italian race cars, Kentucky bourbon, Japanese sushi, Polish pork, Russian vodka, Scotch whiskey, Swedish meatballs, Swiss cheese, Texas toast, and Viennese waltzes.
    Hence, there is the crucial aspect of high-quality, over and above location.
    To these might be added Arabian horses, Argentinean corned beef, American soft drinks, Chinese china, Dutch beer, Lebanese lamb, New England clam chowder, Persian cats, Persian rugs, and Venetian window blinds.
    “American” has many choices, but I picked American soft drinks because these are known and produced around the world: Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, 7 – Up, and Sprite. A very close second was American aviation.

  • Dale A. Wood

    Canadian bacon, Canadian whiskey, Irish ale, Irish whiskey, Scotch whiskey, Tennessee whiskey, Kentucky bourbon, but Scotch whiskey is sometimes called “scotch”.
    Danish pastry, Danish ham, Dutch uncle, Dutch oven, double-Dutch jump-roping, French bread, French dressing, French toast, Irish potatoes, Irish soda, Italian bread, Italian pasta, Mexican beans, Polish pork, Russian dressing, Swedish meatballs, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing, Vienna sausages,

  • venqax

    I agree with #3 for the most part, but in some cases it doesn’t feel right. Could it depends, like pronunciation, on how long the term has been in English? For example, french fries, danish pastry, dutch oven seem all right, but canadian bacon or irish whisky (but not scotch whiskey) for some reason, look iffy. In any case, something like California wine, as mentioned below, presents a different case because it merely refers to the place that the product is from, not to something intrinsic to its type.

  • Dale A. Wood

    I love to eat Polish bread with Finnish bacon, but I hate having this for breakfast with German sauerkraut!
    Do not give me any polish bread. That polish is something to put on shoes and the kitchen counter.
    The royal musicians marched in with Polished trumpets and Finnished the celebration of polish independence day with the Finnish ambassador. .

  • Dale A. Wood

    She has a “Dutch uncle” who loves Danish pastry.
    Continue to capitalize all proper adjectives in English.
    My daughter loves to eat croutons dipped with Thousand Island dressing. (This is true.) She never has had a taste for the same with Russian dressing.
    Continue to capitalize all proper adjectives in English.
    The teenagers went out for breakfast in Quebec City, and they all ordered French toast and Canadian bacon – just to see what would happen.
    Having California wine with French fries – what an odd combination.
    Continue to capitalize all proper adjectives in English.

  • Dale A. Wood

    A correction to the following;
    “Correct : My best school subjects are history, French, math, and physics.”
    “Languages are capitalized, but other school subjects are not.”
    ———————————————————————–
    Why do the coeds at the University of Texas taking Egyptian history and plumbing?
    They all want to be Pharaoh Faucet Majors!
    Conclusion: Proper adjectives are also capitalized in school subjects.
    Furthermore: “California gray whale biology”, “Ancient Greek technology” – textbook: “The Ancient Engineers” by L. Sprague de Camp. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ancient_Engineers

Leave a comment: