This is a long error that has run with me, so it is better to have to an understanding of why, I always used I in small letters, whereas I am always corrected that it is a capital I e.g

I am not feeling well, so I might take a day off to see the doctor and I will let you know. is right

I am not feeling well, so i might take a day off to see the doctor and I will let you know. is wrong

The way I understand English is, we don't use capital words in between unless followed by full stop. e.g

I am tired. I must take rest for five minutes


My understanding of English grammar is, that everything is small letter until followed after a full stop, so why I different?

  • 1
    This question is Too Basic, even for ELL. The first person singular pronoun I is always capitalised in English, regardless of its position within a sentence. As to the reason for this, it's really just a matter of opinion - but I suspect the convention arose before we had any standardisation regarding diacritics like the dot over a lower-case i, so it wouldn't always be obvious whether it was capitalised anyway. May 12, 2017 at 13:44
  • 3
    (I can't resist pointing out that you've just repeated the error in your comment! Do you not believe the rule people are telling you, or do you just not care? :) May 12, 2017 at 13:59
  • 1
    Many people don't bother capitalising I in text messages or "throwaway" online posts, simply because they can't be bothered (not because they don't know it's "incorrect"). But since you're not a native speaker, you really should make the effort to get it right - if you don't, some people will inevitably assume you either don't know (i.e - your level of knowledge is very low) or you don't care (i.e. - you have no real interest in learning or using "correct" English). May 12, 2017 at 14:28
  • 1
    @user178049 No, there isn't. It's a historical habit which lingers on for no reason.
    – user3395
    May 12, 2017 at 14:52
  • 3
    This question has been asked on ELU: Why should the first person pronoun 'I' always be capitalized?
    – sumelic
    May 12, 2017 at 16:55

3 Answers 3


The important information in this thread is from Etymonline.com. They get their information from the famous English linguist Otto Jespersen:, who said this

The reason for writing I is ... the orthographic habit in the middle ages of using a 'long i' (that is, j or I) whenever the letter was isolated or formed the last letter of a group; the numeral 'one' was written j or I (and three iij, etc.), just as much as the pronoun.

[Otto Jespersen, "Growth and Structure of the English Language," p.233]

This means:

In the Middle Ages sometimes people needed to write 'i' a lot. For example, they used Roman numerals. Roman numerals are Roman symbols for numbers. They looked like this:

  1. i
  2. ii
  3. iii
  4. iv
  5. v
  6. vi
  7. vii
  8. viii
  9. ix

You can see that they used a lot of 'i's in their numbers. Because it's difficult to read these numbers when they are mixed up with writing, they used to make the last 'i' in any number very big. It used to look like capital 'i': "I" - or it used to look like 'j': "J".

So for example, in the middle ages, people used to write the number three like this:

  • iiI

... or like this:

  • iiJ

Because of this when there was only one 'i' it used to look like this:

  • I

... or like this:

  • J

So when we started to use the letter 'i' to represent the pronoun I, people started to print it like one 'i'. They printed it like this:

  • I

i hope this is helpful!


Why do we capitalize "I"? Well, the quick answer is, we just do. It may have to do with the lowercase "i" looking awkward on the page. Over time writers extended the character, until by the 1300s it was usually capitalized (see http://blog.dictionary.com/whycapitali/). In informal contexts such as text messages, and particularly with younger people, you will see native speakers using "i" instead of "I." However, this usage is not considered grammatically correct.

  • It's not because lower-case i "looks awkward on the page". The capitalisation convention was established before that dot over the i was even in common use. May 12, 2017 at 14:01
  • Grammar is not related to spelling.
    – choster
    May 12, 2017 at 14:01

According to me, we write "I" always in capital letter because it provide us positive (energy, attitude) and self confidence.

It provide an energy by which "I" can achieve any goal and "I" am the first among all the guys, so I think "I" writes in capital letter.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .