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Spanish Courses & Research

Spanish name and capitalization rules in MLA citation style


Spanish de is not used before the last name alone.

  • Example: use Las Casas (when referring to Bartolomé de Las Casas). Cite as Las Casas, Bartolomé de.

Spanish del is capitalized and used with the last name alone:

  • Example: use Del Río (when referring to Angel Del Río). Cite as Del Río, Angel.

Alphabetize Spanish names by the full surnames.

This becomes complicated when considering given and maternal names, so consult a biographical dictionary for the most accurate representation.

  • Note: Even persons commonly known by the maternal portions of their surnames, such as Galdos and Lorca, should be alphabetized by their full surnames:
    • García Lorca, Federico
    • Pérez Galdós, Benito


Unless they begin a sentence, do not capitalize these:

  • yo
  • names of languages and nationalities
  • names of days of week and months
  • nouns and adjectives derived from proper nouns
  • titles preceding personal nameswords meaning "street," "square," and so on, in most place-names.


  • Only the first letter of the first word and the first letters of proper nouns are capitalized in titles of articles and journals--there is room for adaptation.

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