Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. Maybe you are both studying Spanish together. The other person is either reading or writing something in Spanish. Maybe the other person is uncertain about the rules for capitalising words in Spanish and says to you something like: "tell me, would you capitalise “marzo”?".
In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿marzo se escribe con mayúscula?
On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿marzo se escribe con mayúscula?
The question is an invitation for you to state how you would spell the word in question. When you say how you would spell a particular word, you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. Your main concern should be about communicating how you would spell that word. Perhaps you want to say that you:
- Believe the spelling suggested in the question is not correct;
- Disagree with the spelling suggested in the question and give the correct spelling;
Here are some examples of what you could say in each case:
- No, creo que marzo no se escribe con mayúscula (no, I believe “marzo” is not capitalised);
- No, marzo no se escribe con mayúscula, marzo se escribe con minúscula (no, “marzo” is not capitalised);
Now you should practice replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿marzo se escribe con mayúscula?
*Please see grammar below
There are a some differences between capitalisation rules in Spanish and English. The main differences between the two sets of capitalisation rules refer to:
Capitalising the names of the days of the week is normal in English. In contrast, in Spanish, the days of the week are normally written in lower case.
The spelling of the days of the week in Spanish is shown in the examples below:
- Llegamos a Madrid el lunes (we arrived in Madrid on Monday);
- El martes tengo clase de español (on Tuesday I have a Spanish lesson);
- ¿Adónde vas el miércoles? (where are you going to on Wednesday?);
- Llámame el jueves (call me on Thursday);
- Este viernes trabajo (I will work this Friday);
- Los sábados no trabajo (I don't work on Saturdays);
- El domingo voy a la playa (I am going to the beach on Sunday);
Capitalising the names of the months of the year is normal in English. In contrast, in Spanish, the months of the year are normally written in lower case.
The spelling of the months of the year in Spanish is shown in the examples below:
- El primer mes del año es enero (January is the first month of the year);
- El mes más corto es febrero (February is the shortest month);
- La primavera empieza en marzo (spring starts in March);
- El mes de las flores es mayo (May is the month of flowers);
- Normalmente, en julio hace mucho calor (it is usually very hot in July);
- Agua de agosto, azafrán, miel y mosto (Spanish proverb: rain in August helps saffron, honey and wine yields);
- Treinta días tienen septiembre, abril, junio y noviembre... (September, April, June and November all have 30 days);
- En octubre comienza el otoño (autumn begins in October);
- El invierno comienza en diciembre (winter begins in December);
Capitalising the names of languages is normal in English. In contrast, in Spanish, the names of languages are normally written in lower case.
The spelling of some names of languages in Spanish is shown in the examples below:
- En Australia se habla inglés (they speak English in Australia);
- Estamos estudiando español (we are studying Spanish);
Capitalising words which indicate the nationality of people or things is normal in English. In contrast, the equivalent words in Spanish are normally written in lower case.
The spelling of some words referring to nationality in Spanish is shown in the examples below:
- El whisky escocés tiene mucha fama (Scottish whisky is very famous);
- Peter es inglés (Peter is English);
- Ann es inglesa (Ann is English);
- Ann y Peter son ingleses (Ann and Peter are English);
- Carmen es española (Carmen is Spanish);
- Peter y John son ingleses (Peter and John are English);
- Carmen y Miguel son españoles (Carmen and Miguel are Spanish);
- Carmen y Lola son españolas (Carmen and Lola are Spanish);
Now you should practise these spelling rules with some examples of your own.
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