In English, the general rule of thumb is the first letter of proper nouns are capitalized, and common nouns are lowercase. Common nouns refer to a non-specific person, place, thing, or idea. While proper nouns refer to a specific person, place, thing, or idea.
This can get complicated when dealing with a word like “communism” that can be both proper and common depending on its usage. Here are some common examples of how this word is used and whether or not to capitalize.
Is Communism Capitalized?
There are several ways that the word “communism” can be used.
A political party along with the word “party” are capitalized when talking about a specific political organization’s proper name. This holds true for the word “communism.”
- “She is a member of the Republican Party.”
- “She is a member of the Communist Party.”
Communism is also capitalized when it is referring to the members of that political party.
- “A Communist gave a lecture today.”
- “There are many Communist Party members here today.”
Communism is lowercase when it describes common nouns or adjectives. When communism is talked about as a political ideology, it is being referred to as a common noun.
See the difference in this example,
- “The Communist gave a lecture about communism today.”
The member of the political party is capitalized, while the ideology (the common noun) is lowercase.
Here is another example,
- “We were taught communism in school when the Communist Party was in charge.”
The common noun is lowercase, while and the political party is capitalized.
Capitalizing the first word in a sentence is proper English grammar. The word “communism” is capitalized regardless if it is used as a proper or common noun when it is the first word in a sentence.
- “Communist Party members will protest tomorrow.”
- “Communism is a common noun.”
Communism is capitalized when it’s part of a proper noun like in the name of a specific book, movie, magazine, or newspaper.
- “He gets ‘Communism Monthly’ delivered to his house.”
When referring to as a specific time “communism” is also capitalized. When referred to as a general time it is lowercase.
- “They lived in East Germany during the Fall of Communism in 1989.”
“They lived in East Germany during the days of communism.”
Finally, the word “communism” is capitalized when it is used to refer to a specific place.
As seen here,
- “We walked through Communist Square during lunch.”
Because this is a specific place it is a proper noun so communist is capitalized.
Hopefully these examples are helpful. English capitalization rules can be tricky so hopefully this clarifies some of the rules.
To learn more about proper title capitalization rules, give our free title capitalization tool a try.