Capitalisation. Sentence capitals

    The content of these guidelines is taken from the third edition of the Vives University Network’s Interuniversity Style Guide for Writing Institutional Texts, an interuniversity project in which the UPC participates with the support of the Secretariat for Universities and Research of the Government of Catalonia.


    Beginning of a sentence

    • The first letter of a word that begins a sentence, or a set of words that function as a sentence, should be capitalised.

      On behalf of the URV I would like to welcome you. All of you. Each and every one of you.

    • Also capitalise the first letter of a syntactically complete quoted sentence.

      According to university regulations, "All thefts of library books must be reported to the general manager."


    After a colon

    • After a colon it is standard practice not to capitalise the first letter of the following text.

      The academic year is divided into two quite distinct periods: the first and the second semesters.

    • If the statement introducing a vertical list is a complete sentence, close it with a colon. Then capitalise the first letter of each item of the list. Only close each item with a full stop if it is a complete sentence.

      Students can pass the course only in the following circumstances:
      a) They attend 80% of all the classes.
      b) They hand in all the course work on time.
      c) They get at least 50% in the final exam in June.

      Students must present the following documents:
      a) The official application form
      b) A motivation letter
      c) A photocopy of their passport

    • However, if the statement introducing a vertical list is a sentence fragment, not a complete sentence, do not close it with a colon and lowercase the first letter of each item. Finish each item with a comma, except the last one, which should finish with a full stop.

      Students will have more chance of successfully completing the course if
      a) they are given clear instructions,
      b) they are regularly reminded of their obligations,
      c) they are closely supervised.


    With round brackets

    • When the parenthetical material is a complete sentence, the first letter of the first word should be capitalised.

      All aspects of the projects submitted will be analysed in detail by the department. (Please bear in mind, however, that the final decision will be in the hands of the research committee.)
    • If the parenthetical material is enclosed within another sentence it should not begin with a capital or end with a full stop, whether it is a full sentence or not.

      The debate continued (we all knew that this was inevitable) in the bar after the lecture had finished.
      Students should take their application forms to the Language Service (opposite the lift on the third floor).