French Grammar Guide for non-francophones

Capitalization

An Overview of Capitalization in French

Many words that are capitalized in English are not capitalized in French. The main categories of words that are different in French are:

a) The pronoun je, e.g.:

  • Elle pense que je suis beau.

b) Days of the week, e.g.:

  • On arrive lundi matin.

c) Months of the year, e.g.:

  • Mon frère est né en novembre.

d) Names of languages, e.g.:

  • Laurie apprend le français.

e) Adjectives referring to nationalities, e.g.:

  • Ma cousine est française.

f) Names of religions, e.g.:

  • Il est chrétien.
  • Le hindouisme.

There are cases where French does use a capital letter. The main instances are:

a) At the beginning of a sentence, e.g.:

  • Elle travaille. Je me repose.

b) When referring to the speaker of a language (or a noun describing one's nationality), e.g.:

  • Les Espagnols adorent la plage.

c) Holidays, e.g.:

  • Noël, Pâques.

d) Proper names, e.g.:

  • Terry, Luc, Marie, Richard, Sarah, la France, etc.
 
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