This is a sentence from a current writing project detailing how people in jail feel about reading.

It provides an escape from the reality of what lies before them: time.

Should "time" be capitalized? I've seen published examples of both upper and lower case instances during a brief research of the issue.


4 Answers 4


I have seen capital letters after colons if what comes after the colon is a full sentence:

These rules have only one purpose: They are meant to humiliate.

If you remove the subject and verb, the word after the colon stays lowercase:

These rules have only one purpose: to humiliate.

  • 2
    Agreed, the only exception I have seen by a professional is all caps for emphasis, though as a form of "voiced" emphasis (reading as if spoken loudly) this is a recent "computer age" styling. In academic or screenplays, underlining is typically the only voiced emphasis (besides '?' and '!' ). All caps may be used for headings. In screenplays all caps emphasize scene headings, character names, sound effects and stage notes (e.g. O.S., V.O.) they are not intended to be voiced more loudly when reading, and are not used in dialogue at all.
    – Amadeus
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 11:38
  • 1
    Yes. I don't have a citation for this, but, going on the principle of "if it feels good, write it", I capitalize what follows a colon if it's a complete sentence, or if it would be capitalized regardless of placement, like if it's a proper name or a title; oltherwise not.
    – Jay
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 15:49

As far as I've ever seen, no. You don't capitalize the word following a colon, unless it's a proper name.

  • 3
    Agree; it's a continuation of the same sentence.
    – freginold
    Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 18:07

Another thing to consider is the context. For instance, you might be "passing the time by hanging out" or you might be "subjected to the whims of Time". In the former example, time is an object. In the latter example, time is more like an entity... much like how people may refer to "Death", "Life", "Truth", etc. as opposed to "death", "life", "truth", etc.

From the description of your writing project, it doesn't seem like you'd refer to Time, though I'm sure you could if you crafted your writing project that way.


Lots of opinions here, but let's look to a higher authority. According to the Chicago Manual of Style, the word after a colon is lowercase, even if it starts a complete sentence, unless it's a proper noun.

The exception is when the colon introduces multiple sentences or when it introduces speech.

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