When Do You Use French Capitalization?

Child writing in cursive on paper, cropped
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 French and English capitalization are quite different, as it is much less common in French. Many words that must be capitalized in English cannot be in French, so read through this lesson to make sure that you're not over-capitalizing your French. Also, find an answer to the debate about whether French capital letters can/should/must be accented.

Words that are capitalized in English but not in French:

1. First person singular subject pronoun (lesson), unless it's at the beginning of the sentence.
 He said, "I love you."Il a dit « je t'aime ».
 Je suis prêt.I'm ready.
2. Days of the week, months of the year (lesson)
 Monday, Tuesday...lundi, mardi...
 January, February...janvier, février...
3. Geographical words
 Molière Streetrue Molière
 Victor Hugo Ave.av. Victor Hugo
 Pacific Oceanl'océan Pacifique
 Mediterranean Seala mer Méditerranée
 Mont Blancle mont Blanc
4. Languages (list of languages)
 French, English, Russianle français, l'anglais, le russe
5. Nationalities (list of nationalities)
French adjectives that refer to nationalities are not capitalized, but proper nouns are.
 I'm American.Je suis américain.
 He bought a French flag.Il a acheté un drapeau français.
 She married a Spaniard.Elle s'est mariée avec un Espagnol.
 I saw an Australian.J'ai vu un Australien.
6. Religions
The names of most religions, their adjectives, and their adherents (proper nouns) are not capitalized in French.
ReligionAdjectiveProper Noun
 Christianityle christianismeChristian chrétienChristianun chrétien
 Judaismle judaïsmeJewishjuifJewun juif
 Hinduismle hindouismeHinduhindouHindu*
 Buddhismle bouddhismeBuddhistbouddhisteBuddhist*
 Islam*MuslimmusulmanMuslimun musulman
*Exceptions a Hindu - un Hindou
a Buddhist - un Bouddhiste
Islam - l'Islam