Using capital letters properly

Upper case

Upper case by Jeremy Keith Attribution-NonCommercial License

I see errors in capitalisation commonly in student’s writing. The two situations it seems to happen are:

  1. Capitalising  words you intend to abbreviate. Although the acronym should always be in      capital letters do not capitalise the words explaining the acronym if they are not proper nouns. For example, write diabetes mellitus (DM).
  1. Inappropriately capitalising words because they are important. Only proper nouns should be capitalised. (This site explains what is meant by a proper noun). If you are not sure if a word is a proper noun or not, check the dictionary. Most disease names are not proper nouns, except where they use an eponymous title. For example, compare hyperadrenocorticism and Cushing’s disease. Generic drug names are given in lower case but brand names begin with a capital letter. For example compare glargine and Lantus.

Here is a good website with more details on using capital letters appropriately in academic writing.


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