Conventional guidelines govern what words we capitalize; a careful writer is aware of those conventions. [EDIT]
Capitalization is a convention that is difficult because the conventions change. Writers should be careful and consult a resource when facing issues of capitalization.
Some areas of emphasis include the following:
• Be careful with describing the content area of a class. Since languages are also courses, writers are often confused. We capitalize “English” because it is a language, not because it is a course. Thus, we write “science,” social studies,” and “math.” However, we do capitalize specific course designations such as “Algebra I” or “Psychology 101.”
• Be careful with references to family relationships. When the relationship replaces the name, we capitalize, but when the relationship is preceded by a possessive, we leave the word lower case: “Dad is at the store buying Mom a present” is distinct from “My dad is at the store buying my mom a present.”
• Be careful with capitals and lower case when integrating quotes into your sentences. (See (2) and the sample essays for guidance.)
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