Writing Skills

Writing Conventions for Homeschoolers: Capitalization

Teaching proper writing skills is important for a homeschooler. Writing conventions are the rules we use for capitalizing words, using punctuation, and formatting documents. Here is a simple rundown of the rules of capitalization.

by Ann Bowers

Writing conventions are the rules we use for capitalizing words, using punctuation, and formatting documents. Here is a simple rundown of those rules.

Formatting A Document

1) Indent the first sentence of each paragraph by five spaces or skip a line between each paragraph.
2) Leave a margin of one inch at the sides of the document. Leave a two inch margin at the top and bottom of the document.
3) Number pages at the bottom center of each page or the right top of each page (except for the first page, which is always at the bottom).

Capitalization

1) Capitalize the pronoun I.

I went to the store to buy groceries.

2) Capitalize the first letter of the first word of each sentence.
The president has a huge amount of responsibility.

3) Capitalize the first letter of names of people, organizations, and places.
George, a member of the NAACP, lives in New York.

4) Capitalize the first letter of adjectives that are made from the names of people and
places.

I loved the Hawaiian luau.

5) Capitalize initials.
J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

6) Capitalize the first letter of directions only when they are used to designate actual
places, not when they point in a direction.
My sister lives in West Virginia.

7) Capitalize the first letter of the names of months and the days of the week.
Her birthday is in October. She was born on a Monday.

8) Capitalize the official title of a person (including abbreviations), but only when you
use it with the person's name.
Dr. Henshey is a pediatrician. There are a lot of doctors in Los Angeles.

9) Capitalize words used as names or parts of names.
Arnold Swarzenegger is often called, The Terminator.

10) Capitalize the first letter of important words in a title of a book, magazine, story,

or essay.
J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

11) Capitalize historical events and documents.
The U.S. Constitution was written right after the Revolutionary War.

12) Capitalize the name of languages, races, nationalities, religions, countries and states.
My friend, Mei Ling, lives in Canton, China and speaks Chinese. She is Asian,

Chinese, and a Buddhist.

13) Capitalize acronyms. (An acronym is a word formed by the first or first few letters
of words in a long name of an organization.)
TOPS is the acronym for Take Off Pounds Sensibly.

14) Capitalize initialisms. (An initialism is similar to an acronym, but a word is not formed from the letters.)
USA refers to the United States of America.

Bio for Ann Bowers
Ann Bowers has been an elementary school teacher, in kindergarten through 8th grade, for 20 years. She was a Bilingual Education Grant Project Coordinator for seven years and a school principal for seven. She has a B.A. in English, an M.A. in Education, and holds California Life Teaching Credentials and specialist credentials in Remedial Reading and Teaching English as a Second Language. She is retired and has started a second career as a freelance writer.


No part of this article may be copied or reproduced in any form without the express permission of More4Kids Inc © 2007 
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