Jello or jello? 12 Terms To Test Your Capitalization IQ

Green Jello - the best kindHere are a dozen terms from everyday language that often are written incorrectly. Some are capitalized and shouldn’t be; others shouldn’t be capitalized but are. Take the test, and then check the answers and explanations.*

No cheating!

  1. band-aid vs. Band-Aid
  2. cellophane vs. Cellophane
  3. fiberglass vs. Fiberglass
  4. formica vs. Formica
  5. internet vs. Internet
  6. jello vs. Jello
  7. kleenex vs. Kleenex
  8. mace vs. Mace
  9. mo-ped vs. Mo-Ped
  10. q-tips vs. Q-Tips
  11. realtor vs. Realtor
  12. web vs. Web


  1. Band-Aid (trademark for an adhesive bandage)
  2. cellophane (former trademark for thin, clear, moisture-proof wrap; now a generic term)
  3. Fiberglas (trademark for fiberglass or glass fiber; note single s)
  4. Formica (trademark for laminated plastic)
  5. Internet (the worldwide network of computers, so a proper noun; but intranet, as there are many)
  6. Jell-O (the brand trademark; jello is generic for flavored gelatin)
  7. Kleenex (trademark for a brand of facial tissue)
  8. Mace (short for the brand name Chemical Mace, a brand of tear gas)
  9. mo-ped (stands for motorized pedal, a bicycle powered by a small motor)
  10. Q-tips (trademark for a brand of cotton swabs)
  11. Realtor (member of the National Association of Realtors; real estate agent is preferred generic term) Note: pronounced RE-al-tor, not REAL-a-tor
  12. Web (short for World Wide Web; capitalize it, but website, webcam, webmaster, webcast, Web page)

Are you sometimes a ruthless editor yourself? Do you have a pet peeve about capitalization or a term that you see written or spoken wrong? Please share it in the comment section.

* I use the Associated Press Stylebook as my primary grammar resource.

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Kathy Watson

Kathy Watson has a love/hate relationship with grammar; she loves words and the punctuation that helps them make sense, yet she hates those pesky rules. A self-proclaimed ruthless editor, she prefers standard usage guidelines of The Associated Press Stylebook. Her easy-to-use Grammar for People Who Hate Rules helps people write and speak with authority and confidence. She encourages and welcomes questions and comments. (Email)