English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

At the beginning of sentence is a given.

Here are some examples for each word. Should any be capitalised? If not, is there any situations where they should?

The word "government"

  1. The government raised taxes.
  2. Thatcher was in government for a long time.
  3. The UK is having problems with its coalition government?

The word "organisation"

  1. The organisation needs to make 10% savings.
  2. I would like to work for an organisation like Google.
share|improve this question
up vote 6 down vote accepted

In most cases you would not capitalize either word on their own.

A possible exception might be if you were to use the word as a proper name, or as an abbreviated version of a proper name. For example, you would use capital letters to name the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; after spelling it out in full the first time, you might shorten the name to "Organisation" on subsequent mentions: "The Organisation is expected to release its study next month." (In this particular case, however, you'd be better off calling it the "OECD," which is its preferred English-language acronym; the same is likely true for many groups with organization/organisation in their names, like OPEC, the WTO, etc.)

For government specifically, in some cases it may be proper to capitalize it as part of a proper name; for example, I believe that Her Majesty's Government (of the UK) and the Government of Canada both like to be referred to as such. Even in those cases, I would probably lowercase the word government on subsequent occurrences when using the word by itself, unless I were dealing with a house style guide that required otherwise.

share|improve this answer
I agree with you, but would you mind adding the part related to "government"? Although I guess the way it works is similar... – Alenanno May 19 '11 at 16:06
I added a paragraph about government... hope that's what you're looking for. – phenry May 19 '11 at 16:08
Thanks, yeah I guess so... In the end the rule is pretty much the same: "proper noun" vs "general noun"... +1 :) – Alenanno May 19 '11 at 16:20

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.