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Do You Capitalize After A Comma? Learn The Grammatical Rules

Do You Capitalize After A Comma? Learn The Grammatical Rules

Have you ever asked what the right way to capitalize after a comma is? Commas can be tricky when introducing them in our written works or even in our text messages and personal notes. Still, it could be more complicated to know if we can capitalize a word or not after a comma.

The commas don't end any sentence, so you don't have to capitalize the word that follows it. You should only capitalize the word if it is a proper noun. The name of a person, an organization, acronyms, places, streets, cities, countries, planets, among others, are capitalized after a comma.

This article will deliver information about when to capitalize after a comma, what exceptions exist, and when you should not capitalize words. If you want to know the rules to capitalize or not after commas, read on below.

comma spelled with metal dices

When Can I Capitalize After a Comma?

There are several rules when capitalizing a word. Here's when it is capitalized after using a comma:

Capitalization of Proper Names After Using Commas

Proper names will always be capitalized. It is the way to differentiate the proper names from the common ones. Proper names are nouns used to designate people, places, events, companies, or things with a particular denomination. If you need a guide to know when a name is proper and should be capitalized after a comma, take a look at the following examples:

  • The proper name of a person or individual.

Examples:

John, Jessica, Ashton, Melissa, Ethan, Adams, Smith, Jones.

  • The name of a brand or company is a proper name.

 

Examples:

Starbucks, Samsung, Apple, Burger King, Coca-Cola, Google, Instagram.

  • Some places have proper names.

Examples:

Eiffel Tower, Mount Everest, Christ the Redeemer.

  • Proper names of streets

Examples:

Abbey Road, Brick Lane, While Station Road, Arrow Highway.

  • Proper names of cities, towns, and countries

Examples:

Paris, Spain, New York, England, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand.

  • Planets and galaxies have proper names.

Examples:

Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Andromeda Galaxy, Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy, Cygnus A.

  • Days, months, and Holidays are Capitalized.

Examples:

Monday, Friday, June, December, Christmas, New Year's Eve, 4th of July.

Now that you've seen some examples of proper names, in the following criteria, you will notice the use of capital letters after the comma:

  • I like beautiful views, Mount Everest, for example, has extraordinary ones.
  • The world's seven wonders are the Great Wall of China, Eiffel Tower, Christ the Redeemer, Roman Coliseum, Taj Mahal, Petra, and Chichen Itza.
  • Thank you, George, have a great week.
  • Can you find the address of her house, Farah?
  • I have to go to the mall, Donald's birthday is next week, and I haven't got him anything.
  • I buy makeup from brands like Maybelline, Sephora, KVD Beauty, Too Faced, and Benefit.
  • Let's go to Disney World, Universal, and Island of Adventures this week.
  • Although I love tea, Starbucks makes fantastic coffee.
  • I want to go home, Madrid, because I'm exhausted from when we toured the city of Paris.
  • I'm going to work on Sunday, because Monday, Wednesday and Friday are part of my days off.

Acronyms are Always Capitalized

When the word following the comma is an acronym or initials, it must also be capitalized.

Examples:

  • I'm going to buy a Jeep, BMW it's not working for me anymore, and Tesla it's too expensive.
  • I need the homework ASAP, please.

But what is an acronym?

Acronyms can be defined as abbreviations formed by the initial letter or the first two or three letters of a phrase. The word comes from the Greek "acro," which means "highest," and "nym," which means "name.",

Acronyms refer more easily and quickly to organizations, institutions, companies, associations, objects, devices, systems, etc., whose names are made up of more than two terms.

Examples:

  • ASAP means As Soon As Possible.
  • PIN means Personal Identification Number.
  • BTW means By The Way.

When forming the acronyms of organizations and companies, the words that are taken are:

  • Nouns
  • Verbs
  • Adjectives

The words that are not taken into account are:

  • Articles
  • Determiners
  • Prepositions
  • Conjunctions

Examples:

  • The USA is the acronym of United States of America
  • AT&T is the acronym of American Telephone and Telegraph Company.
  • BMW is the acronym of Bavarian Motor Works.
  • NASA is the acronym of National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
  • UNICEF is the acronym of United Nations Children's Fund.

In the previous examples, we can notice that prepositions and conjunctions are not included in creating acronyms. However, the name carries them in its extended term.

Sometimes acronyms are used so frequently that they are incorporated into daily vocabulary and are generally known. In that case, the words are not capitalized and therefore are lowercase after a comma.

Should you use a comma before or after these words?

The First Sentence of Letters or Emails are Capitalized

When you write a letter or an email, a comma is placed after the greeting. The following line begins with a capital letter.

Examples:

  • Dear Robert,

I know it's been a while, but recently I wanted to contact you about the good old days.

  • Miss Williams,

Your request has been pre-approved. Can you please stay tuned for future updates?

When the Word that Follows the Comma is the Pronoun "I"

The pronoun "I" is always capitalized. It is the only personal pronoun that is capitalized because it is only a single letter.

Examples:

  • Maria brought the wine, I got the grapes, and Phillip brought the cheese.
  • I am the only one in the family who is a vegetarian. My brother typically eats chicken, I eat cheese, and we both eat potatoes with that.
  • If you don't send the assignment, I won't send it either.

comma symbol in yellow

When should I not capitalize after a comma?

Now that you've seen when you should capitalize the word that follows the comma let's see the bad practices you should avoid.

Do I have to capitalize a question that starts after a comma?

The answer is no. Usually, the questions that precede the comma are part of the same sentence; therefore, they do not need to be capitalized. Remember that commas do not separate sentences. They only pause to connect two ideas. You can use periods or semicolons to separate two different concepts.

Examples:

  • We're going to Grandma's house, are we?
  • I want to go to Sophia's house, can you take me?
  • You are not going to throw the garbage in the street, are you?
  • I'm going to Canada next week, do you want to go?

Should I capitalize on the seasons?

Seasons are considered common names. Therefore they should not be capitalized after a comma.

Examples:

  • Tomorrow I go to my father's house, summer is almost over.
  • I prefer tropical weather, winters are too cold in my country, and we don't get much springtime.
  • Of all the seasons, spring is my favorite by far.

Do I have to capitalize the other pronouns?

Pronouns other than "I" should not be capitalized since they are considered common nouns.

Examples:

  • Tomorrow I'm going to the beach, you guys stay home, and Dad will be here in a couple of hours.
  • I like the cold, Luke prefers the heat, and Mike enjoys the tempered weather.
  • I am Ana, he is Charles, and her name is Lucy.

Conclusion

There are some exceptions to capitalizing words after entering punctuation marks. They will depend on which one you use in your sentence. Remember not to confuse the use of the comma, the semicolon, and the colon. The comma serves to separate a series of terms, groups of words, or sentences directly related. The semicolon is used to separate independent sentences that are part of the same one and complement each other. The colon is used to draw attention to what follows, closely related to the preceding text. Also, keep in mind the basic rules of English to guide you more easily when you capitalize words on your papers.