Dear Gaila - Capital Letters

Dear Gaila,

My student doesn't believe in capital letters. What should I do?

Teacher of e.e. cummings II

Dear Teacher,

While it's true that e. e. cummings' trademark poetry did not use capital letters, yet for all the rest of us non-poets, capital letters are still important!

Teach your student that capital letters mark the beginning of new sentences. Names are important – and capital letters make them stand out! Capitals can hint that an unfamiliar word is a name of something.

I'll hazard a guess that your student is a Hebrew speaker. I recently heard a neat trick from another teacher – some words in Hebrew require a special letter at the end of a word ("אותיות סופיות"), similarly English requires a special letter at the start of sentences and names.


Gaila has over 40 year of experience teaching and runs A.H.A.V.A., a non-profit to promote English literacy. Would you like to ask Gaila a question? Email us at or send us a message. Look out for more Dear Gaila columns

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