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Industrial Revolution Essay Title Capitalization

As a technical writer, who must often refer to such things as geographic locations, company names, temperature scales, and processes or apparatuses named after people, you must learn to capitalize consistently and accurately. What follows are ten fundamental rules for capitalization. Check out the first rule. It gets fumbled in papers all the time.

Capitalize the names of major portions of your paper and all references to figures and tables. Note: Some journals and publications do not follow this rule, but most do.

my IntroductionAirshaft 3
see Figure 4Table 1
Appendix AGraph

Capitalize the names of established regions, localities, and political divisions.

Wheeling Townshipthe French Republic
Lancaster Countythe United Kingdom
the Wheat Beltthe Arctic Circle

Capitalize the names of highways, routes, bridges, buildings, monuments, parks, ships, automobiles, hotels, forts, dams, railroads, and major coal and mineral deposits.

Highway 13Route 1
Michigan Avenuethe White House
Alton Railroadthe Statue of Liberty
Herrin No. 6 seamthe Queen Elizabeth

Capitalize the proper names of persons, places and their derivatives, and geographic names (continents, countries, states, cities, oceans, rivers, mountains, lakes, harbors, and valleys).

Howard PickeringGreat Britain
New York HarborGulf of Mexico
Rocky MountainsFlorida
Aleutian Islandsthe Aleutian low

Capitalize the names of historic events and documents, government units, political parties, business and fraternal organizations, clubs and societies, companies, and institutions.

the Second Amendmentthe Civil War
CongressBureau of Mines
RepublicansMinistry of Energy

Capitalize titles of rank when they are joined to a person’s name, and the names of stars and planets. Note: The names earth, sun, and moon are not normally capitalized, although they may be capitalized when used in connection with other bodies of the solar system.

Professor WalkerPresident Barron
Milky WayVenus

Capitalize words named after geographic locations, the names of major historical or geological time frames, and most words derived from proper names. Note: The only way to be sure if a word derived from a person’s name should be capitalized is to look it up in the dictionary. For example, "Bunsen burner" (after Robert Bunsen) is capitalized, while "diesel engine" (after Rudolph Diesel) is not. Also, referring to specific geologic time frames, the Chicago Manual of Style says not to capitalize the words "era," "period," and "epoch," but the American Association of Petroleum Geologists says that these words should be capitalized. I choose to capitalize them, as those who write in the geological sciences should by convention.

Coriolis forceFourier coefficients
English tweedsWalker Circulation
Hadley cellPetri dish
Boyle’s lawRussell volumeter
Planck’s constantKlinkenberg effect
Middle Jurassic PeriodMesozoic Era
the Industrial Revolutionthe Inquisitio

Capitalize references to temperature scales, whether written out or abbreviated.

10 oFFahrenheit degrees
22 oCCelsius degrees

Capitalize references to major sections of a country or the world.

Capitalize the names of specific courses, the names of languages, and the names of semesters.

Anatomy 20Russian
Spring semester 2009Fall term, 2006

Common Capitalization Errors

Just as important as knowing when to capitalize is knowing when not to. Below, I set forth a few instances where capital letters are commonly used when they should not be. Please review this advice carefully, in that we all have made such capitalization errors. When in doubt, simply consult a print dictionary.

Do not capitalize the names of the seasons, unless the seasons are personified, as in poetry ("Spring’s breath"). (It is, of course, highly unlikely that you would personify a season in a technical paper.)

Do not capitalize the words north, south, east, and west when they refer to directions, in that their meaning becomes generalized rather than site-specific.

We traveled west.The sun rises in the east.

In general, do not capitalize commonly used words that have come to have specialized meaning, even though their origins are in words that are capitalized.

navy blueindia ink

Do not capitalize the names of elements. Note: This is a common capitalization error, and can often be found in published work. Confusion no doubt arises because the symbols for elements are capitalized.


Do not capitalize words that are used so frequently and informally that they have come to have highly generalized meaning.

north polebig bang theory
arctic climatemidwesterner

By Geraldine Woods

You use terms about time to describe historical events and eras, to distinguish morning from afternoon, and to write about the season of the year. But what do you capitalize if you want to impress your English grammar teacher?

Capitalizing historical events and eras

This story of Jane’s adventures should make the rules concerning the capitalization of historic events and eras easy.

Jane entered her time machine and set the dial for the Middle Ages. Because of a tiny glitch in the power supply, Jane instead ended up right in the middle of the Industrial Revolution. Fortunately for Jane, the Industrial Revolution did not involve a real war. Jane still shudders when she remembers her brief stint in the Civil War. She is simply not cut out to be a fighter, especially not a fighter in the nineteenth century. On the next Fourth of July, Jane plans to fly the bullet-ridden flag she brought back from the Battle of Gettysburg.

Capitalize the names of specific time periods and events but not general words. Hence

  • Capitals: Middle Ages, Industrial Revolution, Civil War, Fourth of July, Battle of Gettysburg

  • Lowercase: war, nineteenth century

Some grammarians capitalize Nineteenth Century because they see it as a specific time period. Others say that you should lowercase numbered centuries.

Can you correct the capitalization in this paragraph?

Jane has never met Marie Antoinette, but Jane is quite interested in the French revolution. With her trusty time-travel machine, Jane tried to arrive in the Eighteenth Century, just in time for Bastille Day. However, once again she missed her target and landed in the middle of the first crusade.

Here is the answer, with explanations in parentheses:

Jane has never met Marie Antoinette, but Jane is quite interested in the French Revolution. (Capitalize the name of a war.) With her trusty time-travel machine, Jane tried to arrive in the eighteenth century, (Optional, but most grammarians write numbered centuries in lower case.) just in time for Bastille Day. (Correct. Capitalize the names of important days.) However, once again she missed her target and landed in the middle of the First Crusade. (Capitalize the name of the war.)

Capitalizing seasons

Lochness hates the summer because of all the tourists who try to snap pictures of what he calls “an imaginary monster.” He’s been known to roar something about “winter’s peaceful mornings,” even though he never wakes up before 3 p.m.

After reading the preceding example, you can probably figure out this rule. Write the seasons of the year in lowercase, as well as the times of day.

Some books tell you to capitalize the abbreviations for morning and afternoon (A.M. and P.M.) and some specify lowercase (a.m. and p.m.). So no matter what you do, half your readers will think you’re right (the good news) and half will think you’re wrong (the bad news). Your best bet is to check with the authority overseeing your writing. If you’re the authority, do what you wish.

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