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Capital letters and full stops

What are capital letters?

Capital letters are upper case letters that are used at the beginning of a sentence or for proper nouns. They can also be used in other parts of a sentence, such as the beginning of direct speech.

What are full stops?

Full stops are punctuation marks that are used at the end of a sentence to show that the sentence has ended.

Examples of capital letters and full stops

Capital letters for proper nouns

A noun is a naming word. There are two types of nouns: common nouns and proper nouns. A common noun names an item in a class or group. A proper noun, on the other hand, names a noun precisely. For example, lake is a common noun but Lake Victoria is a proper noun because it is the name of one specific lake.

In other words, a proper noun is a specific name given to something, somewhere or someone.

The names of people and places are all proper nouns so all need a capital letter:

Capital letters for proper nouns examples

Capital letters and full stops in KS1:

Children should start to punctuate their sentences with full stops and capital letters in Year 1.

Under the Year 1 Writing - vocabulary, grammar and punctation statutory requirements, it states that children should be 'beginning to punctuate sentences using a capital letter and a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark'. However, it's a good idea to make sure that children have a firm understanding of the correct placement of full stops before moving on to other punctuation (i.e. question marks and exclamation marks).

Children should continue to develop their understanding of when to use capital letters and full stops in Year 2 so that they can start to use a range of other punctation, such as commas for lists and apostrophes.

As well as teaching children in KS1 to start sentences with a capital letter, they should also be taught to use capital letters for days of the week, months of the year, people, places and the pronoun 'I'.

A child writing with the help of an adult

How to teach capital letters and full stops:

  • Have sentences with missing capital letters and full stops for children to correct
  • Have sentences with capital letters and full stops in the wrong place for children to correct
  • In pairs, challenge one child to say a simple sentence and have their partner write it out with a capital letter and full stop in the correct place.
  • Provide children with a paragraph or two of unpunctuated text. This could be anything from a recipe to an extract from a fiction book. Children to rewrite the paragraph correctly, inserting capital letters and full stops where necessary.
  • Provide children with a set of magnetic letters or letter tiles. Read out a word, such as 'flower', 'London', 'goat', 'January', etc. Children to spell out the word, choosing whether it should start with a capital letter for a proper noun or not.

FREE Capital Letters and Full Stops Worksheets

FREE Printable Letter Tiles

LESSON PACK The Alphabet