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					Capitalization and Punctuation
Capitalization Rules and Examples
   Capitalize the first word of every sentence.
       Every building was old.
   Capitalize the names of specific things and places.
       The Oxnard Post Office is busy.
       I took it to the post office.
   Capitalize the days of the week, months of the year, and holidays.
    NOT names of seasons.
       We do not have a holiday on Monday.
       I love the spring.
   Capitalize names of languages, nationalities, races, religions, deities,
    and sacred terms.
       My Dominican friend speaks very little English.
       Mormonism is a sect of Christianity that studies the Book of Mormon.
   Capitalize the first word and every important word in a title. NOT
    articles, prepositions and short conjunctions, unless they start the
       “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” is a good song.
Rules, continued
   Capitalize the first word of a direct quote.
      Joanna said, “My favorite movie is Casablanca.”
   Capitalize historical events, periods, and documents.
      The Great Depression was a turning point in American history.
   Capitalize the words north, south, east, and west when they are referring
    to places, NOT directions.
      I love living in the West.
      Go south on the 101.
   Capitalize people’s names.
      Rick Walter is Dean of Education.
    *Titles are capitalized only if they precede a name or are used in place of a name.
      I told Mom I would be late.
      My mom is a nurse.
   Capitalize brand names.
      My favorite soup is Progresso.
      Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup is okay, but I don’t really like noodle soup.
Rules of the Comma
   Use a comma to separate 3 or more items in a series.
      Ben likes chicken jerky, hamburgers, and tacos.
   Use a comma to set off parts of dates, addresses, and
    geographical names.
      I lived at 29356 Laro Drive, Agoura Hills, California for eight years.
   Use a comma to set off a number of adjectives that
    modify a noun.
      I’ve had my sweet, playful, loving dog Oscar since October.
   Use a comma with coordinating conjunctions to join 2
    simple sentences.
      He went to the beach, and he had a good time.
   Use a comma to follow introductory words,
    expressions, phrases, or clauses.
      Therefore, I will not loan you two hundred dollars.
Rules, continued
   Use commas to surround a word, phrase, or
    clause when it interrupts the main idea.
     My sister, who is 22, attends the University of Washington.
   Use commas around nouns used to address
     I thought, Rosa, that you were going to do the dishes.
   Use commas in numbers of one thousand or
     What would you do with 1,000,000 dollars?
   Use commas to set off exact words in dialogue.
     “Let them,” she said, “eat cake.”
   Use a comma whenever it is necessary to
    prevent a misunderstanding.
     Before eating, the cat took a nap.
Rules for the Apostrophe
   Use an apostrophe to form the possessive.
     The teacher’s pen
     Lucy and John’s house
     Mother-in-law’s advice
   Use ’s to form certain plurals to prevent
     Letters of the alphabet: He writes a’s and o’s the same.
     Abbreviations with a period: They have PhD’s in English.
     Word referred to from a text: She uses too many like’s in
   Use an apostrophe to form contractions.
     Cannot  Can’t
     Let us  Let’s
Rules for Quotation Marks
   Use quotation marks for a direct quote.
      She said, “I’m going to be late tonight,” so I didn’t set her a place at the
   Use quotation marks for material copied word for
    word from a source.
      According to Smith et al, “Children need no less than ten hours of
        restful sleep a night” (2002).
   Use quotation marks for titles of shorter works, such
    as short stories, poems, magazine articles, TV episodes,
    songs, essays, and chapters of books.
      Did you see the episode of Family Guy called “A Tale of Two Brians”?
   Use quotation marks for terms referred to in a special
      When she calls me special, I feel like she is saying “special.”
Rules for the Semi-Colon
   Use a semi-colon to join two independent
     He went to the beach; it was sunny and warm.
   Use a semi-colon in front of an adverbial
     I love the sun; however, I hate the sand.
   Use a semi-colon to separate items in a series
    that contain commas.
     I had lunch with Linda, my best friend; Mrs. Smith, my
       neighbor; and Jan, my sister.
Rules for the Colon
   Use a colon after an independent clause when
    the material that follow is a list, explanation, or an
      Get the following items from the store: milk, eggs, cheese, and
       black pepper.
   Use a colon for the salutation of a business letter.
      Dear Ms. Collins:
   Use a colon when using numerals to indicate
      It is 12:00 noon.
   Use a colon between the title and subtitle of a
      An Evolution of Tax Law: Benefits or Penalties?
Dashes and Parenthesis
   Use dashes for a less formal way of
    interrupting the main idea.
     He came- I thought- by car.
   Use parenthesis to insert extra
     Bach (1685-1750) wrote many famous musical