Names of People

May 23, 2021

Always capitalize the pronoun I.

I always make sure I capitalize the pronoun I correctly.

Always capitalize the names of people and animals.

Joe, Mary, Clifford, Garfield, Spot, Scruffy

Capitalize all parts of a name. Some surnames (last names) have unusual capitalization because of their original meaning. Names with more than one part can vary as families change spelling to make it simpler.

Sean O’Malley (son/grandson of Malley)
Erin MacDonald (son/grandson of Donald)(Some families do spell it Macdonald.)
Daniel ben Joseph (son of Joseph)
Pierre du Lac (of a town named Lac)
Bernard Vincent Schmall Jr. (all parts of the name capitalized)

Terms of endearment used as names are also capitalized.

Good morning, Sweetheart.

Always capitalize initials of names.

Peter M. Carlson, Sallie P. Emerson.

Capitalize courtesy titles and abbreviations of titles when they are used with names or in place of names. Capitalize them when used in a direct address. Do not capitalize them if they do not replace the name. If they are preceded by the or a/an, they are not capitalized.

Mister Thompson, Mr. Thompson
Missus Gutierrez, Mrs. Gutierrez
Miss Hennessey (no abbreviation)
Dr. Colombo, Fr. Page, the rev. Dennison (Notice the the before Reverend – it’s left over from an archaic way of speaking about a minister.)
Good morning, Doctor. How are you today? (Doctor is replacing his/her name.)
The doctor came to check on me after I had been sick. (Doctor isn’t capitalized because it’s being used as a common noun, not a title.)

Hint:Try replacing the title with a name. If it works, capitalize it. If it doesn’t make sense, don’t capitalize it. Examples: Good morning, Doctor George. How are you today? The doctor Gina came to check on me after I had been sick.

Capitalize abbreviations after a person’s name. Some college degrees seem to have unusual capitalization. You are capitalizing the first letter of each word. While you’re at it, notice the periods. You’ll see them again in another unit.

Sr., Jr., III
A.A. (Associate of Arts)
B.S. (Bachelor of Science)
M.D. (Medical Doctor)
Ph.D. (Philosophical Doctor)
D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Science)


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