Communication Skills

JS Tip 258: From the Writing Workshops: Using Capitals. Capitols. Whatever.


Just for the record: capital is the letter. Or the money. Or the city. Or the top of the pillar. Capitol is the building. Just the building. Never anything else.

Alisha Taylor with ExtraSpace asked, “When do you capitalize? For example is it ‘attached you will find the 2014 Operating Expenses.’ Or is it ‘attached you will find the 2014 operating expenses.’”

We suggest you never capitalize without a good reason.

When we say “capitalize,” we mean capitalizing the first letter. We’re not talking about using all caps.

If it’s a title, and you’re referring to the title, you have a good reason.1

For example, if you’ve attached a report with the title, “2014 Operating Expenses,” you can refer to it as “we’ve attached the 2014 Operating Expenses.”

But if you’ve attached a report with the title, “A Report of Expenses for CY 2014,” you can also refer to it as “we’ve attached the 2014 operating expenses.”

If it’s a title, capitalize it. If it’s not, don’t.      

If you have questions, let us know. We love this stuff.

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1 The Reference Book, page 27; The Chicago Manual of Style, Section 8.155