Punctuation & Capitalization


Punctuation will help your writing flow and make it more understandable to the reader. Correct punctuation will keep your ideas organized. Only ONE punctuation mark is necessary at the end of each sentence.


After a complete sentence, you should use a period. You also need a space after the period before starting your next sentence.


Commas are used for introductory words or phrases, before coordinating conjunctions, and between dependent and independent clauses. Commas should not be used in place of a period.

Run-on Sentences

Punctuation is very important in English, and sentences need to be separated correctly. Run-on sentences happen when there is no punctuation dividing complete sentences.


When writing in English, there are certain words that we capitalize and others that we don't. To capitalize means that we use the uppercase form of a letter rather than the lower case. For example, the letter "P" is capitalized in the word "Provo"; however, it is lowercase in the word "popcorn".

Basic Rules

  1. First word of a sentence
    • He sometimes forgets his homework.
  1. The pronoun "I"
    • The last time I saw you was a year ago!
  1. Proper nouns (people, places, organizations)
    • Let's go to San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge.
  1. Names of specific deities, religious figures, holy books, religions
    • Kenny is a Christian, so he reads the Bible every day.
  1. Title before a name
    • Mayor Goodway does her best to protect the town.
  1. Sections of the country
    • I grew up in the South.
  1. Days of the week, months of the years, holidays
    • This Monday is the first holiday in September: Labor Day.
  1. Countries, nationalities, specific languages
    • Those students are from France and Switzerland; they speak French.

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Access it online or download it at https://books.byui.edu/foundations_c_writing/punctuation.