Names of people, places and organisations are called proper nouns. We spell proper nouns with a capital letter:

Mohammed Ali; Birmingham; China; Oxford University, the United Nations

We use capital letters for festivals:

Christmas; Deepawali; Easter; Ramadan; Thanksgiving

We use a capital letter for someone’s title:

I was talking to Doctor Wilson recently.
Everything depends on President Obama.

When we give the names of books, films, plays and paintings we use capital letters for the nouns, adjectives and verbs in the name:

I have been reading ‘The Old Man and the Sea’.
Beatrix Potter wrote ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’
You can see the Mona Lisa in the Louvre.

Sometimes we use a person’s name to refer to something they have created:

Recently a Van Gogh was sold for fifteen million dollars.
We were listening to Mozart.
I’m reading an Agatha Christie.

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Hello,

''I'm interested in applying an application for a/an Computer Science degree''

Should ''Computer Science'' be followed by determiner(if so which?), and should ''Computer Science'' be capitalized?

What is the difference between ''what for'' and ''why''?

Why did you yell?
What did you yell for?

Thank you

Hello MCWSL,

'Computer Science degree' is a noun + noun (Computer Science + degree) construction, so the determiner would go before the first noun. In this case, you should probably use 'the' instead of 'a' if you're applying to a specific degree programme. And note that we don't say 'apply an application' - instead you can say 'complete' or 'submit' an application. It's not absolutely necessary to capitalise Computer Science, but I'd say it's better here.

'what for' can be used to mean 'why', as in the example you provided - here it means the same as 'why'. But it can also be used to talk about the purpose of something, e.g. 'What is that hammer for?'

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
Is it correct to write Art or art ? I've seen the former being used in essays that just describe Art.
Regards,
Petals

Hello Petals,

'Art' is a noun like any other and is capitalised in the same way other nouns are. There are no special rules concerning the word. Of course, an author may choose to capitalise certain words for effect, but this is an individual stylistic choice, not standard usage.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks, so could it mean that the author capitalises it to indicate the particular meaning of art that he has in mind ?

Hello Petals,

Yes, that could be. If you want to post the sentence in context here and suggest why you think it is capitalised, we can tell you if we think you're analysing it correctly.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I have two questions about the people's names used to refer to something they have created.
1) Can we do this in plural? Such as: "I've read many Shakespeares and enjoyed all of them"
2) "We were listening to Mozart." Why this sentence doesn't have an indefinite article? That is: We were listening to a Mozart." Or, if we were listening to more compositions of this author, why not to say: "We were listening to some Mozarts." ?

Hi,
I was wondering about the names of the seasons.
When do we use capitals and when not to?

Regards.

Hi Mistycrystaleyes,

You can find the rules for capitalisation on this page.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
My question is upon the differentiation between proper and common nouns.

1) Trademarks. "Kleenex" is a trademark. In "Pass me a Kleenex" is Kleenex a proper noun? Is capitalization correct?

2) Archetypal names. "He was a complete Don Juan with all his affairs". Is Don Juan still a proper noun?

3)"The Red-White-and-Blue Union Jack hung out of every
window." Is the banner a common noun here?

Any help much appreciated.

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