Punctuation Marks that Don't End Sentences

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 22, 2021)

Duane's business name ends with an exclamation point (!). Word assumes the exclamation point ends a sentence and highlights any subsequent word as needing to be capitalized, as if it were the beginning of a new sentence. Sometimes AutoCorrect will automatically capitalize the word following his business name. Duane wonders how he can make Word realize that his business name, with an exclamation point, is not always the end of a sentence.

There are a few ways to handle a situation such as this. One is to simply undo the change that is automatically made by Word. To do this, immediately after you type the exclamation mark, the space, and the next letter, then if the letter is capitalized, press Ctrl+Z. The capitalization is undone and you can continue typing. This approach is helpful if you want Word to capitalize most of the words that come after a punctuation mark.

If, however, you don't want Word to automatically capitalize any words after a punctuation mark, you can turn off this capability. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and later versions display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Proofing.
  3. Click the AutoCorrect Options button. Word displays the AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  5. Clear the Capitalize First Letter of Sentences check box.
  6. Click on OK.

Another option is that you can, after your company name's exclamation mark, follow it with a non-breaking space. If you do this, then Word won't think the punctuation mark signals the end of the sentence and it won't capitalize the following letter.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (860) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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