LRDG awarded one of the first-ever National Master Standing Offers Learn more
LRDG logo
A French Speaker’s Guide to English Capitalization

A French Speaker’s Guide to English Capitalization

If French is your first language, you might need help remembering which of the many English words demand capitalization. But don’t worry! We’re here to help guide you through the woes of capitalization and help you remember where French and English differ in terms of basic capitalization rules.

First Person Singular Pronoun
Pronom 1ère personne du singulier

In English, “I” is a personal pronoun that should always be capitalized. There is never an instance where “I” would not be capitalized as “i” doesn’t exist in English. However, in the French language, “je” is not capitalized.

You can see the difference in this example below.
She knows who I am.
Elle sait qui je suis.



It’s not only personal pronouns that must be capitalized. Look out when writing addresses too. In English, words describing the type of road, like “Street” or “Boulevard,” will be capitalized along with the rest of the street name. However, in French, roads or street types are not capitalized with the rest of the address.

Take a look at this example below. Here, you can see that a distinction is made to separate the street type from the rest of the address in French, while in English, this is not the case.
Mount Royal Avenue
avenue du Mont-Royal


Languages and Nationalities
Langues et nationalités

In French, nationalities and languages are generally not capitalized unless they are proper nouns. It’s a bit more straightforward in English, where both nationalities and languages are always capitalized.

Here are some examples that could help break these rules down.
“I speak English” and “je parle anglais
“The Spaniard’s suitcase” and “la valise de l’Espagnol

You can see that the word “anglais” is not capitalized in French, but when the language becomes a proper noun, like “Spaniard” the word is also capitalized in the French “l’Espagnol.”


Religious Institutions
Institutions religieuses

Similarly to languages and nationalities, English capitalization of religious institutions tends to be a bit more uniform than French. In English, all religious institutions are capitalized. In French, however, religions and the adjectives referring to these religious groups are not capitalized. There are three exceptions to this rule, however, which are that “l’Islam” is always capitalized, along with the adjectives “Hindou” and “Bouddhiste.”

An example of these capitalization differences between the two languages are:
The Christians
les chrétiens


Art Movements
Mouvements artistiques

A bit less frequently used in daily conversation, but the words to describe the different art movements also differ in how they are capitalized. Whereas English capitalizes the names of these movements, French does not.

For example:
the Impressionists
les impressionnistes


Political Parties and Members
Partis politiques et membres

Political parties are also capitalized differently between the two languages. You are correct if you guessed that English would capitalize words that French will not. Party names are capitalized in English, while in French, they are not.

For example, two of the political parties of Canada:
the Liberals
les libéraux

Days of the Week
Jours de la semaine

English also capitalizes the days of the week no matter the circumstance, where French does not. In English, every weekday is capitalized no matter the circumstance.

For example:
Next Monday
Le lundi prochain



Writing the date in English might involve a few more capital letters than you are used to if you are a native French speaker. The months of the year are also always capitalized in English, whereas they are not in French.

For example
In January
En janvier


If you ever need a quick cheat sheet on the different ways English capitalizes words that French normally does not, check out the chart below that you can quickly reference whenever you’re in doubt!

At LRDG, we offer global online training and testing options to help you learn English or French. We’ll help guide you through the different language conventions (like capitalization!) and support you along your learning journey. Our program boasts a 90% success rate, which means we can help you achieve your language goals and become fluent in a second language.

Check out our different programs and testing options – we’re sure you’ll find one that’s right for you!