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Should I Capitalize "First Amendment"?

Grammar Girl answers a reader question. (Hint: "First Amendment" is a proper noun)

By
Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read

 

Patrick C. asked:

"When discussing a specific amendment, does it gain proper noun status? For instance, is it the Fourteenth Amendment or the fourteenth amendment?"

Both the Chicago Manual of Style and the AP Stylebook say to capitalize names such as "First Amendment" and "Fourteenth Amendment."

The names of all acts, bills, laws, and amendments are capitalized:

  • My dad just signed up for Social Security.

  • I carry a copy of the Bill of Rights.

  • How does the North American Free Trade Agreement work?

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Related Articles

Capitalizing Proper Nouns
Understanding Capitalization
When Should I Capitalize "Constitution"?

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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

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