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I have a fairly quick question. I am wondering if I should capitalize a last name when it comes at the start of a sentence if it starts with a lower-case letter.

Example: In my essay, I am citing Alexis de Tocqueville. After I've introduced him I have a sentence that is something along the lines of "de Tocqueville stated XYZ", with the "de" being the first word in the sentence. Should I capitalize "de", or leave it as is because that's how it's formatted in his name?

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Yes. See https://www.dictionary.com/e/when-to-capitalize-words/

The First Word of a Sentence

You should always capitalize the first letter of the first word in a sentence, no matter what the word is.

This is the first rule listed, probably because it's the easiest one. Of course, like all rules, it can be broken for stylistic effect if you know what you're doing.

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