Proper punctuation


If a word, eg iPhone, that is spelled with a small letter (i in this case) begins a sentence, does that first letter get capitalized?


I'm writing an article about drug products.  One of the drug brand names is "ella" (purposefully small letter "e").  ella begins several sentences.  Do I capitalize the "e"?

thank you.

asked Apr 10 '12 at 15:19 Bruce Glasscock New member

3 answers


This is a tough one.


In formal writing, I'd say the rule about starting sentences with numerals (25) applies. If a number starts a sentence, you spell it out (twenty-five). If you can't spell it out (too long), you should reword so another word starts the sentence.  So, I wouldn't begin with a lower case letter (unless I were e e cummings).


In less formal writing, starting with iPhone might be acceptable, athough an article "an" or "the" may be required and make the question moot.


In any case, I would not start a sentence with a lower case "etta" -- too visually confusing. Try rewording.  "The product, etta-blah blah, was introduced ..."


Hope this helps.

link comment edited Apr 10 '12 at 15:35 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

I definitely agree with the suggestion to avoid starting a sentence with the word.  When writing an article, I suggest starting sentences with different words anyway.  Repetitive starts often sound child-like or like an advertisement. 


I looked up "ella" at, which is a dictionary of sorts for medications.  The page on this drug has a lot of sentences that start with "ella" with no capital letter.  But each sentence is spaced like a bulleted list.  There are plenty of ways to flip sentences around to avoid starting with the brand name. 


However, if the purpose of your article is really for marketing, then go ahead & use the brand name over & over.

link comment answered Apr 11 '12 at 03:58 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

Or you could use the generic name, Ulipristal.

link comment answered Apr 11 '12 at 04:11 Tony Proano Expert

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