To Capitalize or Not to Capitalize, That May Be Your Question

Here are two situations that confuse people about whether they should capitalize:

1) The seasons: Ordinarily, do not capitalize seasons. For instance, “It will be spring in a few days.” However, if you need to document which particular spring, do capitalize the season: “Your next evaluation will be in Spring 2015.”

2) Directions vs. geographical areas: The latter are capitalized. For example, the Near East, the South, Southern California, the Mid-Atlantic states. Directions, however, are not capitalized. “She got on the San Diego Freeway and crept south for over 50 miles.”


Filed under All things having to do with the English language

6 responses to “To Capitalize or Not to Capitalize, That May Be Your Question

  1. Helps. Thank you. Do you have anything on your blog that talks about exclamation marks? I admit I abuse it! 😛


    • Hi, Pooh. (Is that sort of like Haiku?) If you put “exclamation points” in the search box at the top right of my blog, you’ll find a couple of posts that deal with them.

      Thanks so much for following me. I really appreciate it and hope you’re getting something worthwhile from my entries.



  2. Carolyn Uhri

    Hi Judi,

    This is so timely as I had to proof read a friend’s letter last night. She had capital letters on “City” (meaning Los Angeles), Artist (to describe herself), Director of Public Art (to describe herself again). I removed a lot of her capitals. She told me that she hoped it wasn’t a capital offense. She also over uses exclamation marks. Remember, I’m the Commakazi (and still am at times). Miss you!



    • Miss you, too, Carolyn. You are doing great things for the art community here. Brava!

      “Director of Public Art” should be capitalized IF it is her official title and is either followed by her name or preceded by it. If “pope” and “president” aren’t capitalized as job descriptions, that is a good guideline for the rest of us plebes. The latter two are also only cap’d when the name comes before or after.

      Tell her to lose most of her !!!!!!!!!s. They’re annoying. Her words should give the emphasis. That’s what I think!!!!!!!


  3. lyslie

    I was wondering if you capitalize Mid-Atlantic when the sentence is talking about representatives? I don’t know the whole sentence but it says “mid Atlantic representatives will be able to help with any of your needs.” I’m not sure if mid or Atlantic is capitalized?
    Thank you.


    • Lyslie, I’m not sure if I ever answered your question and if I didn’t, I hang my head in shame.

      Here’s your answer: geographical areas are capitalized, both “Mid” and “Atlantic” in your example. When it’s a direction, you don’t capitalize it: “I drove north for two hours.”

      Again, so sorry if I neglected to answer you when you first asked.


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