When it comes to the English language, there’s quite a few rules on capitalization, and navigating them can be tricky. Certain words seem to fall into the grey area of uppercase or lowercase, but fortunately, it’s easier than you think. If you’re scratching your head and wondering “is capitalism capitalized?” then consult this easy guide.
The short answer is yes, capitalism is capitalized, with only a few minor exceptions.
Rules of Capitalization
First, let’s consult the basic rules of capitalization for the English language. When it comes to these kinds of words, you should capitalize:
- All Proper Nouns (ie names of people, countries, places)
- Languages and Nationalities (ie French people, the Russian Language)
- Holidays (ie Christmas, New Year’s)
- Religions (ie Judaism, Buddhism)
- Events (ie Coachella, The Met Gala)
- Brands, Businesses, and Corporations (ie Dove soap, Nintendo, Johnson & Johnson
- Planets (ie Mercury, Mars)
What might be more helpful, however, is to look at a list of words not capitalized in English:
- Concepts and Political Ideologies (ie optimism, capitalism)
- Animals (ie parrot, cat)
- Seasons (ie spring, summer)
- Food (ie spaghetti, steak)
- Space objects besides planets (ie moon, sun, stars)
Should capitalism be capitalized?
Of course, there are more instances and exceptions to add to the list. If your head is spinning, there’s no need to fret. The first thing to look at is what kind of word is capitalism? Capitalism is a noun and represents a political concept or ideology. Capitalism, in most instances, is not the name of a party or group of people, so it cannot be a proper noun. Therefore, capitalism is lowercased. Let’s take a look at the word in a sentence.
Some people find fault with the concept of capitalism.
Anna is studying the history of capitalism in her class.
The United States was built on a system of capitalism and the American dream.
The same goes for the adjective form of capitalism, which is capitalist:
The capitalist countries met in a summit to discuss trade deals.
For some people, it is difficult to survive in a capitalist economy.
Exceptions to the Rule
Capitalism, or any form of it, should always be lowercased in your sentence. However, there are some universal exceptions to that rule. Namely, if the word comes at the beginning of the sentence, or is being used in a title, then it should be capitalized like all words. The word capitalism is over five letters, which means it will be upper case in any title. Here are some examples of where we would in fact capitalize the word:
Capitalism is a concept dating back several hundred years.
The United States’ Complicated Relationship with Capitalism (title)
So there you have it. When in doubt, use lowercase. It’s also helpful to know that other political ideologies are lowercase as well, as long as they’re not referencing any kind of party or movement (ie communism vs. the Communist Party). Approaching the capitalization rules in English can be daunting for some, but if you follow the handy chart and can categorize your word, it’s easier than you think.
To learn more about proper title capitalization rules, give our free title capitalization tool a try.
What about when the -ism is named after a person, such an Kantianism as opposed to utilitarianism. Would this sentence be correct: Unlike other forms of consequentialism, such as Kantianism, egoism and altruism, utilitarianism considers the interests of all humans equally.
Yes, that sentence is correct. If the ideology is named after a person, then it should be capitalized.