The word “city” can be capitalized depending on when and how it is used. When used generically to describe a city which could be any city, then the word “city” is lowercase. This also includes when the word “city” is used before a named place.
However, when used as part of a proper noun, the word “city” is capitalized along with the rest of the proper name.
You can find examples of when the word “city” is capitalized and not capitalized below.
Examples of When “City” Is Capitalized
- New York City streets are mostly one-way.
- Richmond City Hall
- The City gave out several citizens’ awards.
Examples of When “City” Is Not Capitalized
- You can’t fight city hall.
- The city of Chicago is a great place to visit.
- The city government is too bureaucratic.
To learn more about proper title capitalization rules, give our free title capitalization tool a try.
So in terms of when to use a capital T in “The”, if am talking about ,for example, New York City, I would write:
“It is beautiful in The City”
but what if I want to write:
“I am in The beautiful City?” (referring to NY)
Is this correct? Or does it revert to a small “t” in “the” as the “the” isn’t exactly before the word “City” in this case? Or perhaps it should be read “The Beautiful City?”
You should only capitalize “the” before “city” if you are referencing a specific city and in the context of your writing it’s clear which city. For example, if you had referenced New York City in the sentence before.
Generally if an adjective precedes the word “city,” you shouldn’t capitalize the preceding “the” unless per the above you are trying to reference a specific city and want the word “beautiful” to stand out to the reader. This use is more about how you want to communicate with your readers.
Would the word city be capitalized in the following sentence?
The gates have opened at dawn and locked at dusk as required by the city.
From what you posted, yes. It depends on the context, though.