Should 'School' Be Capitalized In A Sentence? – Save Our Schools March

Should ‘School‘ Be Capitalized In A Sentence?

As an education reform expert, I am often asked about the complex rules around capitalizing the word “school” in a sentence. Should it be capitalized or not? Does it depend on the context?

In this comprehensive article, I will examine when “school” should and should not be capitalized in different contexts. I will provide clear rules, tips, and examples to eliminate confusion. By the end, you’ll confidently know if “school” needs capitalization in your own writing.

General Rules for Capitalizing “School”

The key to understanding capitalization of “school” lies in grasping some general capitalization rules.

Do Not Capitalize When Referring to Education Broadly

In most cases, “school” should not be capitalized when referring broadly to education or schooling. For example:

“I believe school is important for every child’s future.”

“She loves going to school to learn new things.”

Capitalize When Part of a Proper Noun

You should capitalize “school” when it is part of a proper noun – meaning a specific, formal name or title. For example:

“She attends Harvard Medical School.”

“He graduated top of his class from Spring Valley High School.”

Capitalize When Referring to a Specific Course

“School” should also be capitalized when referring to a specific course or subject. For instance:

“My favorite class is Economics School.”

“She got an A in History School.”

By following these key rules, you can determine if “school” needs capitalization in any sentence. Now let’s look at some examples.

When to Capitalize “School”

As Part of a Proper Noun

If referring to a school by its official name, capitalize “school.” For example:

“She attends Phillips Academy School of Business.”

If mentioning a specific school district, capitalize “school” as part of the proper name:

“He is the Superintendent of San Francisco Unified School District.”

Referring to a Specific Course

When specifying a particular area of study, capitalize “school.” For instance:

“I’m taking Physics School 101 next semester.”

In these cases, capitalizing “school” signals you are referring to a formal name or specific course, not schooling broadly.

When Not to Capitalize “School”

Referring to Education Broadly

Do not capitalize “school’ when referring generally to schooling or education. For example:

“Learning doesn’t just happen at school. Kids are always picking up new skills.”

In this context, “school” is a common noun that does not require capitalization.

When Not Part of a Proper Noun

Similarly, don’t capitalize “school” when it is not part of a formal name. For example:

“The school in my neighborhood just renovated its playground.”

Here, “school” simply describes the type of place without being part of a proper name.

Special Cases for Capitalizing “School”

Beginning a Sentence

Capitalize “school” at the start of a sentence, following standard capitalization rules:

“School starts tomorrow after a long weekend.”

In Titles

It is also acceptable to capitalize “school” in titles:

High School: An Essential Rite of Passage

However, capitalization rules vary across style guides regarding titles. Always check the preferences if you are writing for a specific publication.

The debate around capitalizing common nouns like “school” in sentences can get complex. By understanding the fundamental rules provided here, however, you can determine if “school” needs capitalizing in your own writing context. I hope these insights from my 20+ years in education reform provide greater clarity on this nuanced grammar topic. Please reach out if you have any other questions!

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