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Other APA Guidelines: Capitalization

Capitalization

For additional capitalization rules, see APA 7, Sections 6.13-6.21. 

Words Beginning a Sentence

  • The floor caved in.
  • No one responded to the final question of the test.

Major Words in Titles Used in the Body of the Paper

  • In the book Modern Warfare, Clinger (1998) envisioned a world where ground troops are unnecessary.

This includes all words with four or more letters, all linking verbs, and the first word of a subtitle after the colon.

Major Words in All Headings (Levels 1-5)

  • See our webpage on headings and APA 7, Section 2.27 for more information.

Proper Nouns

  • Few psychologists were more influential than Freud.

Racial and ethnic group names are proper nouns and therefore require capitalization. This rule is a new clarification in APA 7.

  • I interviewed Latina women between the ages of 25 and 39.

Trade Names

  • My dog loves Purina Puppy Chow.

Names of Specific University Departments or Courses

  • I enrolled in Scholarly Writing 101.
  • Glassner was the associate dean of the Department of Psychology, Iowa State University.

Nouns Followed by Numerals

  • On Day 2, the rats became more aggressive.
  • I visited my grandmother on Floor 3.

Exact Titles of Tests

  • The students needed to take the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test.

Do Not Capitalize

Job Titles and Positions

  • I interviewed the chief executive officers of a dozen technology companies.

Only capitalize a job title or position when it precedes the name of the job holder.

  • I interviewed Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Owusu.

Proper Adjectives as Defined by Webster's Collegiate Dictionary

  • Because her baby was already 14 lbs, her doctor insisted that she have a cesarean section.

Generic References to Courses or Departments

  • I failed my psychology course.

Names of Laws, Theories, Models, Hypotheses, Effects, Diseases, Disorders, Therapies, or Variables

  • The student was unfamiliar with Gardner's multiple intelligence model.
  • Floyd and Rivers (2003) were influenced by the hierarchy of needs.
  • Forty percent of participants have diabetes.

The Words "Page" and "Paragraph" Before a Numeral

  • My teacher told me to reread page 5 of the textbook.

This guideline follows common usage and differs from the general rule to capitalize nouns that precede a numeral.

Generic titles of tests:

  • The students needed to take the vocabulary test.

Knowledge Check: Capitalization