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Humanities Libertexts

17.7: Parentheses and Capitalization

  • Page ID
    5027
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    Parentheses

    Parentheses can be used to enclose an interjected, explanatory, or qualifying remark, mathematical quantities, etc. The words placed inside the brackets are not necessary for the interrupted sentence to be complete but instead set off incidental/accompanying information.

    • Be sure to call me (extension 2104) when you get this message.
    • Copyright affects how much regulation is enforced (Lessig 2004).
    • Be sure to (1) brush your teeth, (2) floss, and (3) gargle with mouthwash.

    Capitalization

    Basic principles of capitalization dictate that common nouns are not capitalized; proper nouns are capitalized.

    • Proper nouns: Capitalize nouns that are the unique identification for a particular person, place, or thing: Michael, Minnesota, North America.
    • Proper names: Capitalize common nouns like party only when they are part of the full name for the person, place or thing. Consider the following examples:
      • I am a member of the Democratic Party.
      • The Democratic and Republican parties are the two major parties in the United States.
        The word parties would be lower-cased when being used in a plural setting
    • Sentences: Capitalize the first word of every sentence including quoted statements and direct questions.
    • Composition: Capitalize the first, last and most important words in the names of books, movies, plays, poems, operas, songs, radio and television programs, and the like: Family Guy, Game of Thrones, Phantom of the Opera.
    • Titles: Capitalize formal titles only when used in front of a name, not when used after the name: Associate Professor John Doe / John Doe, associate professor.
    • Academic titles: Capitalize and spell out formal titles only when they precede a name: Chancellor David Nachriener.
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