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9 Categories of Words That Are Capitalized in English but Not Spanish

Have you ever noticed that there are several types of words that are capitalized in English but not in Spanish? Today's lesson will point out nine such categories where there is a discrepancy in capitalization between English and Spanish. 


1. The Days of the Week

While the names of the days of the week must be capitalized in English, the same is not so of the days of the week in Spanish, whose first letters are lowercase. Let's take a look:


Voy a una academia de baile los martes y los jueves.

I go to a dance academy on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Caption 15, Ariana Mi Semana

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2. The Months

The same can be said for the names of the months in Spanish, which are written in all lowercase letters in contrast to their capitalized English counterparts. This is demonstrated in the following clip:


sobre todo en los meses de diciembre, enero, febrero e incluso en mayo.

especially in the months of December, January, February, and even in May.

Caption 27, Mercado de San Miguel Misael

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3. Languages

Although English capitalizes the names of languages, Spanish does not:


Bueno, yo hablo español, inglés y estoy aprendiendo alemán.

Well, I speak Spanish, English, and I'm learning German.

Captions 19-20, Cleer y Lida ¿Qué idiomas hablas?

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4. Nationality

Words that refer to someone or something's nationality do not start with a capital letter in Spanish as they do in English. Included in this category are both demonyms, or Spanish adjectives of nationality, and Spanish nouns that refer to the inhabitants of a particular nation. Let's see examples of each:


y puedas decir, "Este artista es colombiano, este es un artista brasilero", es decir,

and can say, "This artist is Colombian, this is a Brazilian artist," I mean,

Captions 69-70, Leonardo Rodriguez Sirtori Una vida como pintor - Part 5

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Antes de la llegada de los españoles, existían cientos de diferentes culturas.

Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, there were hundreds of different cultures.

Caption 8, Historia mexicana Cultura y la unión de dos mundos

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5. Religious Words

As we see below, this group includes the names of religions, their respective adjectives, and the nouns that describe their adherents.


y que se utilizó para simbolizar el triunfo del cristianismo sobre la fe musulmana.

and was employed as a symbol of the triumph of Christianity over the Muslim faith.

Captions 61-62, Viajando con Fermín Sevilla - Part 2

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España recibió más de treinta y cinco mil judíos,

Spain received more than thirty-five thousand Jews,

Caption 27, Víctor en España El Hotel Palace de Barcelona

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6. Personal Titles

When preceding a last name and/or addressing a specific person, English words like "mister" or "doctor" must be capitalized. The equivalent titles in Spanish, however, are written in all lowercase letters, as we see here:


Vamos a escuchar a la doctora Consejos y a su paciente Adrián

Let's listen to Doctor Advice and her patient Adrián

Caption 2, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Por y para

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Por supuesto, señora Castaño.

Of course, Ms. Castaño.

Caption 24, Cleer y Lida Recepción de hotel

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7. Titles

In English, most of the words of the titles of original compositions like books, films, songs, articles, or works of art are capitalized, with the notable exceptions of words like prepositions and coordinating conjunctions. In Spanish, on the other hand, only the first word of a title is capitalized, for example, the famed novel Cien años de soledad, which is written in English "One Hundred Years of Solitude." Let's see one more:


Para ello, el artista pintó un gran fresco titulado "El juicio final",

To do so, the artist painted a large fresco called "The Last Judgment,"

Caption 32, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 4

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8. The First Words of Geographical Place Names

All of the words of proper nouns for specific geographical place names in English, like the Andes Mountains or Lake Titicaca, must be capitalized. In Spanish, however, the first words of these proper nouns are lowercase, e.g., la cordillera de los Andes and el lago Titicaca. Let's look at more examples:


y es atravesada por el río Cauca.

and is crossed by the Cauca River.

Caption 17, Viajando con Carlos Popayán - Colombia - Part 1

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en el océano Pacífico y en el mar Caribe.

in the Pacific Ocean and in the Caribbean Sea.

Caption 46, Instinto de conservación Parque Tayrona - Part 4

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9. The First Person Singular Personal Pronoun 

Although the first person singular personal pronoun "I" is always written with a capital letter in English, its Spanish equivalent yo is not, as we can see here:


No, pueden llorar, pero yo tengo que trabajar.

No, you can cry, but I have to work.

Caption 9, La Sucursal del Cielo Capítulo 2 - Part 8

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That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped to clarify several of the classes of words that should not be capitalized in Spanish, some of which might seem a bit counterintuitive to English speakers. Can you think of any additional cases in which Spanish and English capitalization are different? Feel free to write us with any questions or comments.



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