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1.4: Capitalization

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on August 7, 2009 .

Lesson 4 explains mechanics. This resource deals with capitalization.

Lesson 4: Mechanics

This lesson addresses mechanics. Questions about mechanics make up 25 percent of the questions in Part I of the GED Language Arts, Writing test. Reviewing these skills will also help you prepare for the GED Essay and improve your language skills in general. Topics addressed in this resource are as follows: capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.


Some of the multiple-choice questions will ask you to correct errors in capitalization. To prepare for these questions, become familiar with the following rules for what words to capitalize and what words not to capitalize. Familiarizing yourself with these rules will also help you to edit your essay.

Always capitalize the names of people.

Capitalize titles, like doctor, professor, and judge, when they refer to a specific person. Don’t capitalize those words when they refer only to an occupation.

Capitalize family relationships only when they are used as part of a person’s title.

Capitalize the names of political, racial, social, national, civic, and athletic groups.

Always capitalize the names of specific places: cities, countries, geographic regions, street names, schools and universities, and landmarks.

Capitalize words that are derived from the names of places, including languages.

Do not capitalize directions or other general geographical words.

Dates and Events
Always capitalize names of months, days of the week, and holidays.

Capitalize the names of historic events.

Do not capitalize the names of seasons, unless the season is part of a title.

Titles of Works
Always capitalize the titles of articles, books, magazines, songs, albums, television shows, plays, etc.

Don’t capitalize short prepositions or articles (the, an, of, etc.) if they aren’t the first word of the title.

Capitalize the brand names of specific products.

Do not capitalize the general names of products.

Capitalization Exercise

Some of the following sentences contain capitalization errors. Identify and correct the errors. Note: not all sentences contain errors.

1. I read To Kill A Mockingbird when I was in High School.
2. We went to Maui for vacation last year.
3. I don’t drink Coke, but I’d love a Diet Soda.
4. I hear you’re learning to speak french. I would love to go to France.
5. Jamie and Jonathon went to their high school dance together last May.
6. My Father-in-Law took me to a Chicago Cubs game; He doesn’t know I’m a White Sox fan.
7. Jessica’s dad, Dr. Johnson, wants her to be a Doctor as well.
8. Jeremy went to Alexander community college for two years.
9. My sister’s new boyfriend is italian.
10. We traveled South on vacation because my dad wanted to study Civil War history.

Click here for exercise answers.

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