French Grammar Guide for non-francophones


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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