Noting which words should and should not be capitalized could be a full-time job. The all-or-nothing ones are simple: Always capitalize the days of the week, months, proper names, places, languages, and religions. Never capitalize the seasons. If only that were all you needed to know!
- Are you heading West in the Spring?
- I saw chancellor Jones speaking with the Senator.
- My friend is a buddhist and he speaks japanese.
Professional titles and directions seem tricky, but the rules are actually quite simple. Capitalize titles before names, as in Uncle John or President Adrienne Smith. Do not capitalize a professional title when it appears alone (the mayor), or after a name, as in Ellen Jones, company president. For directions, your quick key is this: When you use the for a direction, capitalize that direction. Drive northwest to Seattle; you’ll be in the West.
Religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) and religious figures (Mohammed, Jesus, Buddha) are capitalized, but atheist and pagan are not.