1. JillOfHearts
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    JillOfHearts Member

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    Capital letters for names like dad, mother sister etc.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by JillOfHearts, Dec 13, 2011.

    I was just wondering if it's grammatically correct to start words like mother with a capital. I had always thought it wasn't a capital. If you're writing in first person and there's a sentence like this: 'I had always liked cats, but mother was allergic.' Do you write Mother or mother?
     
  2. Cade Johnson
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    Cade Johnson Member

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    Yes, in that case "mother" should be capitalized, because it is a proper pronoun. If it is used in place of a name, it is capitalized. If you said "my mother," you would not need to capitalize it.
     
  3. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I would not think so because the word father is used in religion to refer to God and so to capitalise it in your context might just confuse the reader.
    I mean Ican think of Mother Theresa. That 's capitalised because it refers to a godly being.
     
  4. naturemage
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    naturemage Active Member

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    For father, it would depend on the context. In that case, perhaps substituting with "Dad" would be more appropriate, unless the classiness of your story depends on it.
    But, Cade is right. If you are substituting an actual name with mother, it should be capitalized. As far as sister and brother, that can work too, though personally I've never encountered someone calling their siblings by anything other than their first name. But, there are fancy people out there that do I suppose.
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Uh, most people are smart enough to discern whether God is being referred to or not. It's usually pretty obvious.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!

    many people call their fathers 'Father' and no one thinks they're addressing god...

    some wives even call their husbands that... and husbands address their wives as 'Mother'... it's quite common in the south and midwest of the us... especially among farm folk... in fact, my sister's first husband's parents did so... they were farm-raised in ohio...
     
  7. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    Another way to look at this is, if you called someone by a nickname, would you capitalize it? I would, and terms, like "mom," "dad," "father," "sister," "brother," and so on, can be used as "nicknames" and should be capitalized when they are.
     
  8. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Funny. My sister calls her husband ... "Husband"!

    Now, as far as caps for mother, father, etc. When the 'label' is being used in place of a proper name, you would capitalize. As in ... Your mother's name is Gladys. So you might say, "This afternoon, Gladys picked me up at school."
    However, you, in all likelihood, would not refer to her by that name. Instead, you call her Mom. So you would say, "This afternoon Mom picked me up at school."

    Now be aware that you would not capitalize the word mom if it were prefaced by "my" as in "My mom picked me up," since that is not using the moniker as a proper name.
     
  9. TeeBee2011
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    TeeBee2011 Member

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    So would you put mother or Mother in the following:

    Ben could see his mother driving into the garage.

    Thanks
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    read what was said above!... when it's preceded by a possessive pronoun, it's not a name, but only a noun, thus no capital...
     

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