Always capitalize the following:
The first word in a sentence and the first word after a period
- It is the first day of school.
- He is my husband. His name is Phil. He is an engineer.
The first word in a quotation
- She said, "They don't know what to do."
- He asked, "When are we leaving?"
The pronoun I
- This is where I was born.
- Can I have a slice of cake?
The first letter of a proper noun (specific name)
- My name is John Smith.
- I was born in Brazil.
- I went to Harvard University.
- I drink Starbucks coffee.
The first letter of months, days, and holidays (but not seasons)
- Today is December 5, 2014.
- My dentist appointment is on Monday.
- My favorite holiday is Christmas.
- My favorite season is winter.
The first letter of nationalities, religions, races of people, and languages
- I love to eat Chinese food.
- I speak Spanish and German.
- I believe in Christianity.
- There are many Russian students at my school.
The first letter in a person's title
- My doctor is Dr. Lopez.
- Have you met Mrs. Lee?
Geographic areas: cities, states, countries, mountains, oceans, rivers, etc.
- My favorite city is Boston.
- I live in New York.
- I was born in London, England.
- We live near the Mississippi River.
The first letter of each major word in the title of a book, movie, article, etc.
- Have you seen the movie Harry Potter?
- Tolstoy's War and Peace is my favorite novel.
General Rule: Do not capitalize the word "the" before proper nouns unless "the" is part of an official title
- We visited the Grand Canyon.
- We have to fly over the Pacific Ocean.
- The report came from The Associated Press.
- My favorite book is The Great Gatsby,.