This paper examines the challenge of starting a sentence with a proper noun or an abbreviation that is written with an initial lowercase letter (e.g. iPhone, danah boyd, pH). Traditionally, placing such words at the beginning of a sentence would be avoided, but this limits one's syntax and style. Hence, the aim of this paper is to explore the rules and practices of writing certain proper nouns and abbreviations with a lowercase letter and starting a sentence with such words in Croatian and English. Therefore, we reviewed the rules and guidelines in orthography handbooks and style guides, analyzed the corpora to examine the use of the initial lowercase letter, and surveyed a group of 60 bilingual college students to gain an insight into what they find acceptable regarding the matter. The results show that a sentence can indeed begin with a lowercase letter and that the acceptability of this phenomenon depends on several factors.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Department of English (CLA)


RIT Croatia