To capitalise or not to capitalise

Last changed: 11 July 2023

The grammar police are here to help! Get writing tips for English and Swedish in our regular language column.

Swedish and English basically have the same rules for capitalisation. Capitals are used for the first word in a sentence and for proper names. In English, capitals are also used for adjectives derived from proper names, such as Swedish.

There are, however, other cases where capitals are sometimes used. At SLU, we use lowercase as much as possible. There is a tendency to capitalise words unnecessarily because they are considered “important”. Avoid this.

  • Use sentence capitalisation in headings.

  • Capitalise titles only when they precede a name.

  • For faculties, departments etc. we use capitals only for the full name: "The Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences", but "the faculty publishes a monthly newsletter".

  • Do not capitalise the names of subjects: The department offers courses in maths and statistics.

  • For acronyms, we use the same rule as for Swedish: If an acronym is pronounced letter by letter (EU, SLU), use capitals. If it is pronounced as a word (Epok, Fomar), only capitalise the first letter.

Published October 2017.