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Capital letters help... posting for traffic

(31 Posts)
QueenArnica Mon 08-Jun-20 08:13:06

Morning all,

Please help settle a (friendly) dispute with a colleague.

We are writing primary school reports and disagree on this issue...

I say when writing about the subjects, e.g. In maths, Sam is beginning to blah blah blah, the subject (in this case maths) should not have a capital letter. The same with science, music etc with the only exceptions being English and French and PE and RE.

They say ALL the subjects should be capitalised regardless.

Who’s right? Thanks in advance, I’m on my 3rd coffee already and need to start writing hmm

OP’s posts: |
Queenoftheashes Mon 08-Jun-20 08:16:17

No. History and maths are common nouns. Your colleague is one of many people who think something should have a capital letter because it is the name of something. It drives me up the wall.

otterbaby Mon 08-Jun-20 08:17:00

I agree with you. They would only be capitalised if they were proper nouns...e.g. science wouldn't be but Organic Chemistry would be.

LuluJakey1 Mon 08-Jun-20 08:19:09

You are right. However, it is very common for teachers to think like your friend.

onalongsabbatical Mon 08-Jun-20 08:19:30

You are right. Unless you're writing in German, which almost uniquely capitalises all nouns wherever they are in a sentence.

GalaxyAero Mon 08-Jun-20 08:19:57

I think you are correct.

Skylucy Mon 08-Jun-20 08:20:55

You are right.

YinuCeatleAyru Mon 08-Jun-20 08:21:47

I would capitalise history when writing a school timetable or on a CV listing qualifications but not in a sentence. eg Mr Brown was a history teacher. I am at university studying history. I hold a MA in History.

MsJaneAusten Mon 08-Jun-20 08:22:10

You are right.

testing987654321 Mon 08-Jun-20 08:23:45

I think the confusion comes in when talking about specific qualifications or courses, so OCR Mathematics GCSE might be a title if a qualification, but to pass that you study maths.

DuckALaurent Mon 08-Jun-20 08:24:41

This might help:

Way more rules than I realised wink

bettyboo40 Mon 08-Jun-20 08:27:09

We are told to capitalise the names of subjects in our reports. I remember a Head of Department arguing that maths didn't need a capital letter. Therefore, I do it automatically now, because if I don't, I am told to correct it.

QueenArnica Mon 08-Jun-20 08:42:49

Thanks everyone, I’ve let him know I was right! grin

OP’s posts: |
Queenoftheashes Mon 08-Jun-20 17:48:46

Oh good it was a man.
Stupid men.

Unhomme Mon 08-Jun-20 17:52:49


Surely it's head of department?

daisypond Mon 08-Jun-20 17:54:42

You are grammatically right. But it’s also OK if it’s decided that as an in-house/school style all school subjects are capitalised.

bettyboo40 Mon 08-Jun-20 20:29:09

Not our school. It's Head of Department, Head of Year etc. In fact I don't think I've ever seen it written any other way in any school I have worked in. I've never really thought about it before now.

Queenoftheashes Mon 08-Jun-20 20:42:59

Yes that’s style from ego

ItsGoingTibiaK Mon 08-Jun-20 20:54:41

It’s a stylistic issue, not a grammatical one, so no-one is right, technically. You will find your way is much more common in most modern style guides - although capitalisation is quite a complex area (I used to write style guides as part of my job).

ItsGoingTibiaK Mon 08-Jun-20 20:56:57


Sorry to be a pedant, but ‘organic chemistry’ isn’t a proper noun, either!

JustOneMoreStep Mon 08-Jun-20 20:59:22

I think in formal writing technically you are correct in that the dont need capital letters. However, in the example of a school report it has always been an expectation that subjects do carry a capital letter, so I would naturally write with them in that context. I also find it irritating/odd as a parent when teachers don't but thinking about it that is based of prejudice from my own experience.

user1471447863 Mon 08-Jun-20 21:53:37

@Queenoftheashes was that sexist comment really necessary?

ethelredonagoodday Mon 08-Jun-20 21:54:31

You are right.

AriadnesFilament Mon 08-Jun-20 21:55:48


Queenoftheashes Mon 08-Jun-20 22:34:54

@user1471447863 no it was for fun
Bore off

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