Is Democracy Capitalized?

Standards of writing dictate what constitutes proper and legible writing. Where these standards diverge, it may be somewhat confusing to properly spell out some expressions in our text, which brings us to the word under discussion: Democracy, a noun characterizing a style of governance allowing people to choose the legislation governing them.

Is democracy capitalized?

The short answer is sometimes. But when exactly is democracy capitalized?

The first, and the most obvious, instance where one should capitalize the word democracy is where it occurs at the beginning of a sentence (or just after a full stop). In some instances, democracy is capitalized after a colon if the statement after the colon consists of more than one sentence. In reported speech, democracy is capitalized if the words being quoted form a full sentence. For example:

“Democracy is a prominent style of leadership in the world.”

“Abraham Lincoln said, “Democracy is government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

The next, instance where democracy is capitalized is when it appears in a title. A general rule of thumb regarding titles states that the first and last words of the title, verbs, adverbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions are capitalized when writing a title. A good example would be the title of this article. The noun (democracy), verb (capitalized) and first word (is) are all capitalized. Were we to reorganize the title, following the principle expressed above, the title would resemble the following:

“Democracy is Capitalized?”


“Capitalized Democracy is” (if the title were being written by Master Yoda)

The least obvious case where the word democracy is capitalized is when it is used as a proper noun, meaning a name for some person or entity, the same way you would capitalize John or Toyota. While it may be rare that you will write about a person named Democracy, you may find yourself making direct reference to the name of a style of governance. This may look something like this:

“This leadership style is called Democracy…”

Above, since you make direct reference to a name, Democracy becomes a proper noun, meriting its capitalization. Beyond these instances, is democracy capitalized? As mentioned before, democracy is a noun. Common nouns referring to general, non-specific things are normally not capitalized in writing. Be it that we speak generally of any political ideology, aristocracy, monarchy, etc, we would not capitalize the words in writing.

To learn more about proper title capitalization rules, give our free title capitalization tool a try.


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