Capitalizing ‘Dollar’: A Definitive Guide

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that capitalization rules can vary depending on the context in which the word “dollar” is being used. For example, when referring to a specific currency, such as the United States dollar, it is typically capitalized. However, when used as a general term, such as “I need a few dollars,” it is usually not capitalized.

That being said, there are some exceptions to these rules, and it’s important to be aware of them. For instance, if the word “dollar” is being used at the beginning of a sentence, it should always be capitalized, regardless of the context. Additionally, if “dollar” is part of a proper noun, such as the “Australian dollar,” it should be capitalized as well.

Capitalization Rules for Dollar

Formal Writing

In formal writing, it is generally recommended to capitalize the word “Dollar” when referring to the currency of the United States. This is because it is a proper noun, which means it refers to a specific thing or person, in this case, the currency of the United States.

According to, “Dollar” is capitalized when referring to the currency of the United States. However, it is important to note that this rule only applies to formal writing, such as academic papers, reports, and business documents. In informal writing, the rules are more relaxed.

Informal Writing

In informal writing, such as emails, text messages, and social media posts, it is generally acceptable to use lowercase letters when referring to the word “dollar.” This is because the rules for capitalization are more relaxed in informal writing, and it is not necessary to follow strict grammar rules.

According to, while it is recommended to capitalize “Dollar” in formal writing, it is not required. In fact, excessive or unfounded capitalization in normal writing tends to look illiterate, unless it’s wielded by an expert artist or by earlier authors.

Therefore, in informal writing, it is generally acceptable to use lowercase letters when referring to the word “dollar.” However, it is important to note that this rule only applies to informal writing, and in formal writing, it is still recommended to capitalize the word “Dollar.”

Historical Context of Dollar Capitalization

The Early Days of Dollar Capitalization

In the early days of the United States, the dollar was not capitalized. According to ELL Stack Exchange, the reason for this was that the dollar was considered a common noun, just like any other unit of measurement. However, over time, the dollar became more than just a unit of measurement. It became a symbol of American power and wealth, and as such, it began to be capitalized.

Changes in Dollar Capitalization Rules over Time

The rules for capitalizing the word “dollar” have changed over time. According to Capitalize My Title, the word “dollar” is generally not capitalized when it is used as a common noun. For example, “I have ten dollars in my wallet.” However, when the word “dollar” is used to refer to a specific currency, it is capitalized. For example, “The Canadian Dollar is worth more than the US Dollar.” There are also some exceptions to these rules. For example, when the word “dollar” is used as part of a proper noun, it is capitalized.

For example, “The Silver Dollar Bar is a popular spot in town.” Additionally, when the word “dollar” is used in a title, it may be capitalized for stylistic reasons. It is important to note that the rules for capitalizing the word “dollar” may vary depending on the style guide being used. For example, the Associated Press (AP) style guide does not capitalize the word “dollar” when it refers to the US currency, while the Chicago Manual of Style does. Overall, the rules for capitalizing the word “dollar” can be a bit confusing. However, by understanding the historical context and the rules that are currently in place, you can ensure that you are using the word correctly in your writing.

Arguments for Capitalizing Dollar


When writing about the US currency, capitalizing “Dollar” can help avoid confusion and increase clarity. By capitalizing it, you make it clear that you are referring to the currency and not just any generic term for a dollar amount. This can be especially important in financial or legal documents where precision is key.

Respect and Formality

Capitalizing “Dollar” can also show respect for the importance and influence of the currency. It is a formal way of acknowledging the significant role that the US Dollar plays in the global economy. This can be important in international business or diplomatic contexts where showing respect and formality is crucial.


Using consistent capitalization rules can help maintain clarity and professionalism in your writing. If you capitalize other currencies, such as the Euro or the Yen, then it makes sense to also capitalize the Dollar. Inconsistency in capitalization can be distracting and can take away from the overall impact of your writing. In conclusion, there are valid arguments for capitalizing “Dollar” when referring to the US currency. It can increase clarity, show respect and formality, and maintain consistency in your writing. Ultimately, the decision to capitalize “Dollar” is up to you and depends on the context and purpose of your writing.

Arguments Against Capitalizing Dollar

Simplicity and Ease of Use

When it comes to writing, capitalization can be a tricky thing. It can be difficult to remember which words should be capitalized and which ones should not. By not capitalizing the word “dollar,” you can simplify your writing and make it easier to read. This is especially true when you are dealing with large amounts of text, such as in a financial report or a business proposal. By keeping things simple and consistent, you can make your writing more professional and effective.

Inconsistency with Other Currencies

The argument against capitalizing “dollar” is further supported by the fact that other currencies are not capitalized. For example, the euro, the yen, and the pound are all written in lowercase letters. By capitalizing the word “dollar,” you are creating an inconsistency that can be confusing to readers. This can lead to misunderstandings and errors, which can be costly in a business setting.

Lack of Clarity

Another argument against capitalizing “dollar” is that it can create confusion about what is being referred to. For example, if you write “Dollars,” it may not be clear whether you are referring to U.S. dollars or some other type of dollars. By using lowercase letters, you can make it clear that you are referring to U.S. dollars.

This can help to avoid confusion and ensure that your writing is clear and concise. In conclusion, there are several arguments against capitalizing the word “dollar.” By not capitalizing it, you can simplify your writing, create consistency with other currencies, and avoid confusion. However, it is ultimately up to you to decide whether or not to capitalize “dollar” in your writing.