Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

Capitalisation and abbreviations

Read about the grammatically correct ways to use capitals and abbreviations.
© University of Southern Queensland


Capitals are often overused, but they are actually rarely needed outside of the main functions of beginning sentences and identifying proper nouns. When referring to generalised titles, it is not necessary to have capitals, much like the usage with bachelor’s degrees versus the Bachelor of Education.

For example, when talking about an academic board in general, capitals are not needed, but when talking about a specific academic board, it would be “USQ’s Academic Board” because it is a proper noun.

Similarly, when referring to the “states and territories”, capitals are not needed, but when naming a specific state or territory (like the “Northern Territory”), capitals are required.

When questioning whether it needs a capital, ask yourself “is it the unique name of something?” If it is a general title like “the business manager”, then no, it is not the unique name of something. However, if it were “USQ’s Business Manager”, then yes, it is specifically referring to one person rather than the generalised business manager.


Below are the correct ways to write out common abbreviations:

  • For example = e.g., (The company has many assets (e.g., unique marketing and an extensive client list)).
  • In other words = i.e., (The company has the standard rate of superannuation, i.e., 10%.)
  • And others = et al. (“Bradford et al. state” or “the authors (Bradford et al., 2013)”)
© University of Southern Queensland
This article is from the free online

Effective Communication Skills for Professionals

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education