Capitalization is the writing of a word with its first letter as an upper case and the remaining letters in lower case.

The following are the cases when capitalization is used:

(A) Abbreviations

Abbreviations begin with a capital letter.

(i) Titles of persons


Prof. George Saitoti,             Mr. Stephen Kiama

Dr. Ephantus Maree,             Mrs.Teresa Ndegwa

Lt. James Conary,                  Ms. Jacinta Atieno

Note that all the above abbreviations end with a period.

Miss is not an abbreviation, so it doesn’t end with a period.


(ii) Words used as addresses


St. (street),                   Blvd. (Boulevard)

Ave. (Avenue),             Rte. (Route)

Rd. (Road),                   Apt. (Apartment)

(iii) Words used in businesses


Co. (Company),                     Inc. (Incorporation)

Corp. (Corporation),             Ltd. (Limited)

(iv) Some abbreviations are written in all capital letters, with a letter standing for each important word.


P.O. (Post Office),                          USA (United States of America)

P.D. (Police Department),              E.A. (East Africa)

(v) Initials of names of persons


E.W. Gichimu,                        D.M. Weyama

W.W. Muriithi,                       Everlyne A. Kira


B) Titles of books, newspapers, magazines, TV shows and movies.


The Minister’s Daughter (book),            Tahidi High (TV show)

The Daily National (newspaper),            Harry Potter (movie)

Drum Magazine (magazine),                   The Day of the Jackal (book)

Capitalize the first and last words only.

Do not capitalize little words such as a, an, the, but, as, if, and, or, nor etc.


(C) Titles of shorts stories, songs, articles, book chapters and most poems.


Half a Day (short story)

Kigeugeu (song)

Three Days on Mt. Kenya (short story)

The Noun Clauses (chapter in a book)

Grass Will Grow (a poem)


(E) Religious names and terms


God, Allah, Jesus, the Bible, the Koran

Do not capitalize the words god and goddess when they refer to mythological deities.

(F) Major words in geographical names


Continents – Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia Water bodies – the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Nile River, River Tana, Lake Victoria.

Landforms – the Rocky Mountains, the Aberdares Mountains, the Rift Valley, the Sahara Desert.

Political Units – the Kirinyaga County, the Central Province, Inoi Sub-location.

Public Areas – Nairobi National Park, Wajee Nature Park. Eko Lagos Park

Roads and Highways – Jogoo Road, Kenyatta Avenue, Uganda Road, Aba Road.


(G) Names of organisation and institutions


Kianjege West Secondary School, United Nations, University of Nairobi, Nairobi Women’s Hospital, University of Lagos, University of Port Harcourt. Note that here you capitalize only the important words.

Do not capitalize such words such as a, in, and of.

Do not capitalize such words as school, college, church and hospital when they are not used as parts of names.

Example: There will be a beauty contest at school.


(H) Months, days and holidays


June Labour Day

Tuesday December

Kenyatta Day

Mashujaa Day

Worker Day

Do not capitalize names of seasons: autumn, summer, winter, spring


(I) Languages, races, nationalities and religions


Chinese, Kikuyu, Christianity, Caucasian, Bantu, Nigerian, Muslim, Oriental

(J) The first word of every sentence


What an exciting day it was!

(K) The pronoun I


What should I do next?

(L) Proper Nouns

Examples: Lang’ata Cemetery, Ann Pauline Nyaguthii, Eko Women’s Group, London Teachers Sacco



(M) Proper Adjectives Examples:

We ate at an Italian restaurant

She is a German

(N) The first word in greetings and the closing of a letter.


Dear Mark,                   Yours sincerely,

Dear Bryan,                  Yours faithfully,

My dear Mum,             Very truly yours,

(O) Quotations


Jamlick exclaimed, “This book would make a great movie!”

“Where,” asked the stranger, “is the post office?”

“It’s late,” Billy said.

“Let’s go home!”


(P) First word of each main topic and subtopic in an outline


  1. Parts of speech


(i) Proper nouns




Correct all errors of capitalization in the following sentences.

  1. This play is a revision of shakespeare’s earlier play, the merchant of venice.
  2. John kiriamiti wrote my life in crime
  3. I admire women who vie for parliamentary seats
  4. Benard mathenge and his wife have travelled to america.
  5. My grandmother grew up in witemere.
  6. The nile river is one of the largest rivers in africa.
  7. Each year tourists visit maasai mara national part.
  8. The tv show papa shirandula has attracted many viewers.
  9. Uganda and kenya have signed an agreement over the ownership of migingo islands.
  10. our country got it’s independence in december 1963. 11. on christmas day, all my relatives gathered at my home.
  11. waiyaki is a fictional character in ngugi wa thiongo’s novel, the river between.
  12. the city of mombasa gets its water from river tana.
  13. i would like to become a famous writer like sydney sheldon.
  14. they captured the stark beauty of hell’s gate national park in their movie.




  1. This play is a revision of Shakespeare’s earlier play, The Merchant of Venice.
  2. John Kiriamiti wrote My life in Crime.
  3. I admire women who vie for parliamentary seats.
  4. Bernard Mathenge and his wife travelled to America.
  5. My grandmother grew up in Witemere.
  6. The Nile River is one of the largest rivers in Africa.
  7. Each year tourists visit Maasai Mara National Park.
  8. The TV show Papa Shirandula has attracted many viewers.
  9. Uganda and Kenya have signed an agreement over the ownership of Migingo Islands.
  10. Our country got independence in December, 1963.
  11. On Christmas Day, all my relatives gathered at my home.
  12. Waiyaki is a fictional character in Ngugi wa Thiongo’s novel, The River Between.
  13. The city of Mombasa gets its water from River Tana.
  14. I would like to become a famous writer like Sidney Sheldon.
  15. They captured the stark beauty of Hell’s Gate National Park in their movie.


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