Do You Capitalize The Word “Math”? When and When Not To


do you capitalize math

The word ‘math’ is an American short form of mathematics first introduced in 1890 and became popular in 1911. We define ‘math’ as a short form of mathematics, which is the science of numbers based on their combinations, operations, interrelations, abstractions, and generalizations. 

To accurately answer this question, it’s prudent to understand that we don’t capitalize on school subjects like “Math” unless used as proper nouns or talking about a specific course or class. 

math sign in flourecent lights

Origin of the Word “Math”

Mathematics comes from the Greek word máthēma, which means “what one learns” or “what one gets to know,” hence ‘lesson.’

In the UK, math is used as an abbreviation and not in speech. The accepted spoken word is ‘maths’.

It’s a branch of study or school subject, which brings us to the question of whether ‘math’ should be capitalized or not.

Examples:

  • French and German need to be capitalized but math and chemistry do not need to be capitalized because they are proper nouns. (Correct. We capitalize names of languages because they are proper nouns)
  • Can you help me with this math problem? (correct. Math in this sentence does not require to be capitalized because it is not used as a proper noun)
  • She is taking Chemistry 100 and Math 202 today. (Correct. In this sentence, Math 202 is capitalized because it is a unique course or class)

A good rule of thumb is to determine whether the word ‘math’ in your sentence is a proper noun or not. You also need to consider general conventions of capitalization, such as when the word appears first in a sentence and when written as a title or subtitle. That means you cannot capitalize if the word ‘math’ is not explicitly used to refer to a specific program of study or course in a university and if it does not appear as the first letter in a sentence or title.

Math Vs. Maths, Is There a Difference in Meaning and Capitalization?

This is a common question, particularly in different demographics, as most people tend to use the words interchangeably when referring to mathematics. Both words are widely accepted and can be used in place of mathematics; the only difference is who uses them and what their preference is. Math is more preferred in the US and Canada, while ‘maths’ is more preferred in Australia, the United Kingdom, and other speaking areas. With that said, ‘math’ and ‘maths’ can be used interchangeably and how you use them depends on your preference.

Examples:

  • Job loves school, but he enjoys maths.
  • Nina likes helping her little brother with his math.

When Is “Math” Capitalized as a Proper Noun?

The word ‘math,’ as we know it is an abstract noun but can be used as a proper noun. The only way to know is by checking the way it is used in a sentence. For instance, it can be an area of knowledge or field of study.

Examples:

  • Our professor majored in Math 001.
  • He took Math 101, Educational Psychology, and Philosophy of Language in his first year.
  • Will you be talking about Math 201 next semester?
  • Judy has always had problems with Math 241.

Can You Capitalize “Math” When Referring to a Specific Subject?

We only capitalize on ‘math’ when used as a specific subject. This is typically the same as a proper noun, where ‘math’ is no longer used as an abstract noun but a proper noun. Here are a few examples of classes that need to be capitalized:

  • Computer Science 101
  • AP Physics
  • Drafting 101
  • Physical Education 2
  • English Literature
  • Algebra 2

greenboard with physics and math annotations

Math is a general topic that comes with other subtopics such as algebra, calculus, geometry, and many others. Note that we also do not capitalize on these subtopics unless they are specific areas of study. In other words, we regard them as general subject names.

Examples:

  • Some of the best course combinations include Math I, II, and III
  • You are still not a good mathematician if you have not gone through the Common Core Standards for Math Practice.
  • The American Mathematical Society sat down and created this incredible list of Math Subject Classification.
  •  If you like both math and physics, maybe you should consider taking Math 101 and Physics 101.

Capitalizing “Math” at the Start of a Sentence

While the word ‘math’ is rarely used as the first word in a sentence, the rules of capitalization still apply. If a sentence starts with ‘math,’ then the writer is required to begin with a capital letter.

Examples:

  • Math is her favorite subject because she scores well and likes her teachers.
  • Math sucks, especially when you are trying to calculate something with a tired brain.
  • Math is a natural science that must be applied in most areas of our lives; that is why we should embrace it.
  • Math used to be my least favorite subject until I met the right tuition teacher.
  • Math and physics students are generally sharp, as they are said to have a higher IQ.

Is It Possible to Capitalize on ‘Math’ When Referring to a General Term?

The simple answer to this question is ‘NO.’ We don’t capitalize on the word ‘math’ if used as a common noun, an abstract noun, or a general term. That is why we have to focus on how it is used in a statement in order to determine whether it is a broad term or a proper noun.

Examples:

  • Mr. Joe Jackson was a former math professor at Balagni University who published various works such as ‘The Infinite Calculus.’
  • To rate my son’s understanding of math, I asked him to draw something quite technical for my inspection and analysis.
  • Even after leaving college, Clara’s passion for math did not die as she solved complex algorithms without help.
  • “If you want to be a good accountant, you must work on your math,” said her teacher.

Can You Capitalize “Math” as a Topic or Subject?

The rules of punctuation stipulate that topical words be capitalized as they are a subject of discussion. For instance, if you decided to talk about math, whether in a blog, diary, or journal. Your primary subject will be math, which can be written as Math. The same rule applies to classes and courses, such as Introduction to Math or the Poetry of Math. However, you don’t have to capitalize on all the words in a title—articles and conjunctions such as the, a, of, for, and many more.

Examples:

  • The Advancement of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Over the Years
  • The Relevance of Math in Day to Day activities
  • Why You Should Study Math as Part of Your Major
  • The Nine Rules of Math You Must Know

Synonyms of “Math”

  • The science of numbers
  • New-math
  • Maths
  • Mathematics
  • The language of numbers
  • Arithmetic
  • Computation
  • Calculation

Other “Math” Sentence Examples

  • Jackie is always occupied in her study room, solving complex math problems, and writing memoirs.
  • The modern branch of math can now deal with constant accounting problems and yield solutions.
  • Higher education, particularly in science and math, requires more discipline and regular practice to solve common problems.
  • My dad’s best subjects in school were science, physics, and math.
  • Most left-handed individuals are great mathematicians, and most of them pursue Math 101 at the university.
  • Miss Kelly told her grade four students to avoid solving math problems using calculators to help them master multiplication.
  • The professor introduced himself as a geometry and algebra guru in applied math.
  • You must learn to embrace mathematics if you want to pursue a career in accounting.
  • Princess Alexa stopped taking her lessons in math and claimed the sums were too difficult to solve.
  • Did you know that math has been with us since 3000BC?
  • On Saturday, Julie spent most of the afternoon playing math games with her little brother and a couple of friends.
  • In bitcoin mining, miners have to solve complex math problems to find the hash rate and complete the mining process.
  • Math is a critical field that has led to many mathematical areas, such as game theory and statistics.

math sign among colorful school utensils

Final Thoughts

The rules of capitalizations don’t change. Mastering what and when you need to capitalize a word is one of the best ways of ensuring you never get stuck when writing. Only proper nouns and words formed with them should be capitalized, but not common nouns.

When it comes to the word ‘math,’ many people tend to capitalize on it because they assume it is a proper noun. Many also don’t know that school subjects are not capitalized unless they point to a particular course or class. Before deciding to capitalize on any word, make sure you have identified how you have used it in the sentence. Always spare a few minutes to do some little research and understand its usage before settling on capitalizing it. We hope that this guide helped answer all your questions regarding whether you should capitalize on the word ‘math’ or not.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

Recent Posts