Sunday, February 22, 2015

When to capitalize family titles

Here's a handy post from the Grammar Gremlin, Don K. Ferguson:

When referring to family titles in your writing, should you capitalize or use lowercase?
 
For example, is it “father” or “Father,” “dad” or “Dad,” “mother” or “Mother”?
 
If these terms stand alone and are being used as the name you use for the person, they are capitalized.
 
Example: “Have you decided yet, Mother, whether you and Dad will be able to take your trip?”
 
If you are merely referring to the person, use lowercase.
 
Example: “My mother and father are planning to a trip to the beach.”
 
If “uncle” or a similar family relationship term is used with the name, it is capitalized. Example: “They said Uncle Bill might go with them.”
Otherwise, it would be “my uncle.”
 
Don K. Ferguson, retired U.S. District Court chief deputy clerk, is a former member of the Knoxville City Council. He may be emailed here.

Don K. Ferguson

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