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Capitalization of names that begin lowercased, at the beginning of a sentence

Let's say that you have a word that should be typed with leading lowercase letter. Perhaps it's a computer command. Perhaps it's an Internet nickname. I can't find any more serious examples.

When you put that word at the beginning of a sentence, should you capitalise it?

cat allows you to display contents of a file.

The convention is that commands are typed in fixed-width font, so this doesn't stand out as much.

soccer_boy_89 turned out to be my sister's account.

This does, though.

Of course you could paraphrase the sentence such that the problematic word is not the first one, but that's not the point here.


If the word really demands lower case and you really really don't want to paraphrase to stop it looking odd, then you're left with keeping it in lower case and it looking slightly odd...

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No, you shouldn't capitalize. I think you are referring to the rule that proper nouns should always be capitalized, but there are many examples where they are not, for e.g., iTunes, iPod, pH(from chemistry) They are never capitalized.

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  • Although I think that pH would never start a sentence... But, then again, I might be wrong. – Paulo Santos Jun 3 '11 at 15:07
  • 2
    pH might start a sentence. – Malvolio May 19 '13 at 16:45

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