Most students know to capitalize the first letter of the first word in every sentence. Here are some other capitalization rules to jog your memory.
Reproduce capitalization in a quoted passage
Capitalize the first word of quoted material when you lead into the quote with an explanatory phrase.
According to Dan Steele, "All of the workers will be laid off by Tuesday."
But... If the quotation blends with the structure of your own sentence, there is no need to capitalize the first word of the quote. Example: Severson claims that the workers "will be paid compensation benefits."
Capitalize words of significance in a title
Capitalize all words of significance in the titles of books, periodicals, and art works. Do not capitalize articles (a, an, the), conjunctions (and, but, or), or prepositions of four or fewer letters, unless they are the first or last words of the title.
War and Peace
The Great Gatsby
Much Ado About Nothing
Capitalize the first word in every line of poetry
Note: Some contemporary poets (like e.e. cummings) do not use capitals. Retain the style the poet uses.
Capitalize names of people or groups of people
Only capitalize names of family relations when used with a person's proper name:
Grandpa Leon, grandpa
Aunt Phyllis, aunt
Capitalize religions and religious titles and names
Capitalize names of nations, nationalities and languages
Capitalize places and regions (designated by points on a compass) when they function as nouns and refer to a particular place in the country and not to a direction
the Great Lakes
the cold Northwest
I was driving northwest.
Capitalize titles of distinction
Secretary of State
Prime Minister Thatcher
J. W. Moellendorf, D.C.
Margaret Reid, Ph.D.
Jack Wilson, Sr.
Jack Wilson, Jr.