Quick Tip: Capitalization Rules After a Colon



A common question among researchers is whether the word right after a colon should be capitalized. This can be a tricky question as it depends upon the language you are writing in and the style you are following. That said, there are some general rules to follow:

1) If writing in British English, you only capitalize the word after a colon if it is a proper noun or if it is an acronym.

2) If writing in American English, you may capitalize the first word after a colon if it starts a complete sentence. This, however, may be different depending on the style used (e.g., APA vs. Chicago Manual of Style).

3) Never capitalize the first word after a colon if it starts a list of items.

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