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Don't overuse capital letters

Overcapitalisation can make your text cluttered and harder to read, especially on screen.  

When writing for the web, it is better not to use capital letters to give prominence to

  • policy areas
  • programmes
  • events
  • generic references to laws or Commission departments

A good rule of thumb when writing in English is that names and titles (proper nouns) are capitalised, whereas common nouns are not.

  • European Commission, European Parliament, European Union are proper nouns and always capitalised when written in full
  • words such as commissioner, president and director are common nouns and not capitalised when used in a generic sense. Examples include
  • several commissioners are collaborating on a draft of the new initiative
  • the European Commission is led by a president
  • commissioner, president and director etc. can also appear as personal titles, in which case they are capitalised - examples include
  • President Juncker was formerly Luxembourg's prime minister
  • the meeting was attended by Director-General Darius Guddelschein

Instead of …

… write

several Directorates-General are responsible for action on climate change

several directorates-general are responsible for action on climate change

Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

common agricultural policy (CAP)

Consumer Rights Directive

consumer rights directive

Council Presidency

BUT German presidency of the Council

Council presidency (general)

German Presidency (initial capital for specific presidencies)

Environment Summit

environment summit

Environment White Paper

environment white paper

European Year of Equal Opportunities

European year of equal opportunities

the Directive on Consumer Rights

the directive on consumer rights

Information Society Technologies

information society technologies

Staff Regulations of Officials and Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Communities

Staff regulations of officials and conditions of employment of other servants of the European Communities (Initial capital for titles of EU documents)

 Synopsis of the Work of the Court of Justice of the European Communities

Synopsis of the work of the Court of Justice of the European Communities

Do use capitals for

  • names of organisations and groups, e.g. World Health Organisation, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, the Labour Party, the European Trade Union Confederation
  • specific Commission departments, e.g. Directorate-General for Communication
  • for full names of international agreements, conferences, conventions, etc. Nouns and adjectives have a capital when using the full name, e.g. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership 
  • buildings, e.g. the press conference is underway in the Élysée Palace; what's on the menu in the Berlaymont canteen today? 
  • place names
  • brand names
  • a specific law with its reference number, e.g. amendments to Directive 97/7/EC; national parliaments will be given 12 months to transpose Regulation (EU) No 517/2013 into national law

    Contact and support

    If you require further assistance, please contact:

    Comm Europa Management

    European Commission
    DG Communication 
    Unit B.3 
    Europa Web Communication 

  • No labels

The Europa Web Guide is the official rulebook for the European Commission's web presence, covering editorial, legal, technical, visual and contractual aspects.
All European Commission web sites must observe the rules and guidelines it contains.
Web practitioners are invited to observe its contents and keep abreast of updates. More information about the web guide.