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Capitalization in Spanish

 

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  #1  
Old August 08, 2011, 10:39 AM
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Capitalization in Spanish

So I'm puzzled by what gets capitalized in Spanish and what does not.

Days of the week apparently are not capitalized, or so I've come to learn in the last few minutes. I've also noticed that "español" is not capitalized.

So apparently the general rule of "proper nouns are capitalized" does not hold up en español.
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  #2  
Old August 08, 2011, 12:26 PM
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Capitalization doesn't applies on days, months, language names, nationalities... and I can't remember of any other.
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  #3  
Old August 08, 2011, 12:55 PM
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I'll oversimplify some rules, but here's a list and examples with most of them:

One must capitalize all proper names:
-People's first names, family names and nicknames:
·Diego Alatriste, alias el Capitán
·Alfonso López, conocido como el Poncho
·A María Ramírez, le decían la China porque tenía los ojos rasgados.
·Pedro García
·Alicia León

-Pet's names:
·Mi perro se llama Solovino.
·El loro de John se llama Polly.

-Brands:
·un auto Chevrolet
·una cerveza Corona
·una televisión Sony
*There's an exception when the brand is used instead of the noun:
·Tengo catarro, ya me acabé la caja de kleenex.
·Necesito comprar cinta scotch.

-Religious entities, doctrine books and festivities:
·Dios
·Jehová
·Zeus
·Atenea
·Baal
·la Santísima Virgen
·el Todopoderoso
·San Juan de la Cruz
·Santa Teresita del Niño Jesús
·la Biblia
·el Corán
·el Pentateuco
·Navidad
·Pascua
·Año Nuevo
·Ramadán

-The names of space bodies:
·Andrómeda
·Plutón
·Saturno
·Ganímedes
·Titán
·las Pléyades
·la nebulosa de Orión
·la Cruz del Sur
*"Sol", "tierra" and "luna" tend to lose capital letters, because they're used too often, but they're capitalized when written in scientific jargon.

-Place names:
·América
·Europa
·Medio Oriente
·Inglaterra
·España
·Bolivia
·Perú
·Chihuahua
·Sonora
·Caracas
·Bogotá
·el Hemisferio Sur
·el (río) Paraná
·el (río) Danubio
·el (volcán) Iztaccíhuatl
·el (mar) Mediterráneo
·el (océano) Pacífico
·el (océano) Atlántico
·la Plaza Mayor
·el centro comercial Perisur
·la calle Cañitas
·la avenida Insurgentes
*Please note that when the article is not included in the name of the place, it's not capitalized, but for names like "El Salvador", "La Habana", "El Cairo" and similar, the article must be capitalized too.


Titles and official names for organizations and offices are also proper names:
-Official names:
·Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público
·Departamento de Estado
·Gobierno Federal
·Ministerio del Interior
·Subdirección de Obras Públicas
·Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos
·Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas
·Organización de las Naciones Unidas
·Museo Nacional de Antropología e Historia

-Books titles and names of magazines, newspapers, articles...:
·Manual de Conjugación Española
·Novelas Ejemplares
·El Clarín
·El País
·Letras Libres
·Cómo Leer en Bicicleta

-Laws:
·Ley Federal del Trabajo
·Tratado de Libre Comercio
·Reglamento de Tránsito

-Sports, social or political events' names:
·los Grammys
·las Olimpiadas
·Muestra Internacional de Cine
·Campeonato Mundial de Futbol

-Academic titles and subjects:
·Fui a clases de Español y Matemáticas.
·Juan López, Médico Psiquiatra.
·Mi hijo se graduó en Relaciones Internacionales.
·Tu vecino no es médico, sino doctor en Filosofía.


Forms of address are usually not capitalized. Normally they're capitalized only when they are abbreviated:
·el señor López / el Sr. López
·la señorita Pérez / la Srita. Pérez
·la señora Martínez / la Sra. Martínez
·la doctora Juárez / la Dra. Juárez

Some names that have to be capitalized when used as proper names:
-Zodiac names:
·Capricornio
·Cáncer
·Géminis
·el Toro (when used instead of Tauro)
·la Balanza (when used instead of Libra)

-Cardinal points
·Norte
·Sur
·Este / Oriente
·Oeste / Poniente
·Sureste
·Noroeste



The following nouns are not considered proper names, so they're not capitalized:
-the names of the months, days or seasons
·primavera
·miércoles
·agosto

-music notes
·do
·re
·mi

-the names of religions
·budismo
·catolicismo
·islamismo

-nationalities and names to designate someone from a region:
·mexicano
·gallego
·africano
·inglés
·francés
·brasileño
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  #4  
Old January 08, 2014, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelicaDeAlquezar View Post
-Cardinal points
·Norte
·Sur
·Este / Oriente
·Oeste / Poniente
·Sureste
·Noroeste
Esto es nuevo para mí.

¿Que debo escribir?:

"Ve hacia el norte" o "Ve hacia el Norte"

Or are both of those completely wrong?
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  #5  
Old January 08, 2014, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rsheldon View Post
Esto es nuevo para mí.

¿Qué debo escribir?:

"Ve hacia el norte" o "Ve hacia el Norte"

Or are both of those completely wrong?
Your first sentence is correct.

Here are the rules:

Mayúsculas
4.13. Se escriben con mayúscula inicial "los nombres de los cuatro puntos cardinales (Norte, Sur, Este, Oeste) y de los puntos del horizonte (Noroeste, Sudeste, etc.), cuando nos referimos a ellos en su significado primario, como tales puntos, o cuando forman parte de un nombre propio: La brújula señala el Norte; La nave puso rumbo al Noroeste; Corea del Norte; la Cruz del Sur. [...]. Sin embargo, cuando los nombres de los puntos cardinales o de los puntos del horizonte están usados en sentidos derivados y se refieren a la orientación o la dirección correspondientes, se escribirán en minúscula: el sur de Europa, el noroeste de la ciudad, el viento norte".

Diccionario panhispánico de dudas ©2005
Real Academia Española © Todos los derechos reservados
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  #6  
Old January 08, 2014, 08:34 PM
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Thanks Rusty. I don't think English ever uses the capital letter at the beginning of cardinal directions except in proper nouns, such as "North America" and "South Carolina". It strikes me as odd that you would use the capital letter at the beginning of "north" to describe where a ship is sailing or where a compass points, but other than that the rules make sense.

Last edited by Rsheldon; January 08, 2014 at 08:42 PM.
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  #7  
Old January 09, 2014, 10:22 AM
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Are occidente and poniente subject to the same rules?
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  #8  
Old August 08, 2011, 02:26 PM
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I was going to reply to this but after Angelica's thorough explanation, I'll abstain..
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  #9  
Old August 08, 2011, 05:27 PM
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Thank you for that very detailed response, Angelica. I guess that has to cover at least ALMOST all of it, ha ha.
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  #10  
Old August 08, 2011, 10:12 PM
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Awesome! Add to favorites
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