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Hi, Andrew—You would capitalize it if "Follow the money" were intended as a stand-alone imperative sentence, meaning "I order you to follow the money."

However, although the phrase can be used that way, it is not always or even usually used that way. We can say, e.g., "If we follow the money, we'll find out."

Consequently, the phrase should not be written as a separate sentence, with a capital "F." Incidentally, in U.S. punctuation, periods go inside quotation marks.

If you want to quote it as it is used in the movie, you need to look at the context and decide whether it is being used as a separate sentence or as part of one. Let me help you. We'll watch the scene together:

Robert Redford: "Supposedly he's got a lawyer with twenty-five thousand dollars in a brown paper bag."

Some Other Actor: "Follow the money."

Robert Redford: "What do you mean? Where?"

Some Other Actor: "Well, I can't tell you that."

So, as the quote is used in the movie, it is a separate imperative sentence and is written thus. However, the movie popularized the phrase, and the phrase can be used in other contexts in which "follow" does not begin the sentence.

Last edited by David, Moderator

Thanks! I appreciate your doing all that work to get the script; that makes sense.

I'm curious, though, if there's any general rule?

Look at this list:

Look at #31 on the list; suppose you want to quote "tomorrow is another day"...would you capitalize "tomorrow"?

You might ask about slogans and sayings too.

"Defund the police" is one that I wrestled with; I opted to capitalize "defund".

And if I want to say "Blood is thicker than water" or something then do I always capitalize "blood"?

You capitalize when it's intended to be thought of as a separate sentence. Thus, I would capitalize the beginning of "Show me the money" and "Help me help you," and perhaps add an exclamation to them, in contexts in which I wanted it to call to mind how they are used in the movie Jerry Maguire, but not in contexts in which I wanted just to draw attention to their being catchphrases.

Last edited by David, Moderator

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