Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Editorial Tip of the Week

It’s easy to remember to always capitalize someone’s name, but what about when you are referring to your mom and dad or grandma and grandpa? Kinship names are lowercased except for direct address, when they come directly before a personal name, or are used instead of a personal name. Terms of endearment are always lowercased. Here are some examples:

Why couldn’t Mom pick me up after school today?
You have got to be kidding me, Dad.
I went to see Grandpa Scott today.
I love Aunt Tabitha.
I love my aunt Tabitha.
My mom and dad enjoy hiking.
His grandpa is a great guy.
I love you, sugarplum.

If you’re still having trouble, here’s a quick trick: pick a name to substitute in place of the personal name or title. If it can be replaced (except in the case of a term of endearment), it is usually capitalized. I like to use the name Billy.

Why couldn’t Billy pick me up after school today?

Because you can substitute Billy for Mom, you know it is capitalized. But try it in this sentence.

His Billy is a great guy.

It doesn’t work, so you know to lowercase it.

You can use the same rules for other titles as well.

We saw President Bush at the store today.
We saw the president at the store today.
What did Bishop King talk about?
What did the bishop talk about?

1 comment:

C. L. Beck said...

Great tip! Many authors have problems with that issue, so thanks for posting the info.