Tag Archives: capitalization

ChanteSez … Make Dad’s day

10 Jun

You’ve got a few days, but Father’s Day will be here before we know it. I was asked to write a couple of paragraphs about fathers recently, and it was tough to keep it brief considering how much I love and appreciate my dad.

Before we get to that, here’s a rule that applies to dads (and moms).

If “Dad” is his name, capitalize it all the same.

My father’s name is Ronald. That’s a proper noun. My mom’s name is Cynthia. Same deal — since their names are proper nouns, they’re capitalized.

And in the example above, because you’re using “Dad” as his name, it’s capitalized.

Try this: Replace “mom” or “dad” with their real names. If it fits, capitalize it.

I went to my dad’s house for breakfast — his pancakes are the best!

My mom and I talk at least once a week — when I can get her to answer her phone!

If there’s one thing Dad believes in, it is learning.

I thought I was good at putting together a quick dinner, but Mom is the master chef.

Chante Sez … What in the world?

26 Feb

Mercury retrograde is almost over, folks. Feb. 28, here we come. But with the planets in mind, this week’s tip is about Earth. What in the world is the difference between Earth capitalized, and lower-case earth?

Here’s how to remember it: In reference to the planet Earth, it gets a big “e,” just like the planet is big.

  • Earth = the planet. It’s a proper noun, just like your name, or the city you live in.
  • earth = the stuff that plants call home, aka dirt, good soil, etc.

Here are a few examples:

Welcome to Earth. (As we greet aliens, of course.)

“I felt the earth move under my feet.”

What on Earth were you thinking?

I like him because he’s down to earth.

ChanteSez … Merry New Year!

25 Dec

Ever seen Coming To America? “Merry New Year!” is one of my favorite lines from that Eddie Murphy classic.

I wish you and yours a happy Christmas and a merry New Year!

Here’s when to capitalize it.

If you’re referring to the holiday, capitalize all instances of New Year:

What are you doing for New Year’s Eve?

Prince Akeem’s neighbors were less than pleased when he was shouting, “Merry New Year!” from his New York apartment balcony.

But if it’s a matter of fact — more in reference to the date of Jan. 1 and beyond — no capitalization is needed:

I plan to stick to my resolutions in the new year.

The start of the new year always feels like a do-over on life.

ChanteSez … Let’s do better in the new year!

2 Jan

Happy New Year, everyone!

Mine is off to a good start. Rather than resolutions, about three weeks ago I wrote down six affirmations for different areas of my life.

I’m excited to say that my new year reflected many of them! I traveled to a place I’d never been, and spent time with friends and family, strengthening the bonds I have with them.

How about you? How are things going two days in?

Today’s lesson: In reference to the holiday surrounding the new year, capitalize it. If you’re using it in general terms, like I did in the prior sentence, go lower-case. A few examples:

  • I spent New Year’s Eve doing some of my favorite things.
  • Happy New Year!
  • I plan to relax more in the new year.

ChanteSez … Don’t forget your brand

5 Dec

Tuesday is my neighborhood trash pick-up day. I forgot to move my bin to the curb. … I almost forgot to post today’s ChanteSez Tip of the Day, too.

So, speaking of trash, did you know there’s a difference between “trash bin” and “Dumpster”? That difference is trademark.

Dumpster is capitalized since it is a trademarked brand. The rule is to use the trademarked brand only if it’s essential to your story, or if you’re aiming to add a detail that gives color to your piece. Otherwise, try to use a generic alternative.

Here are a few others:

  • AstroTurf
  • Velcro
  • Thermos (if you’re referring to the particular brand name)
  • Clorox
  • Jet Ski

ChanteSez … Are you hungry yet?

21 Nov

If so, feast your eyes on these food-related words — a primer on what’s capitalized and what’s not.

  • french fries — no caps … and no offense to our Francophile friends
  • french toast — no caps
  • Brussels sprouts — the “B” is capitalized, and like the city, takes an “s” on the end
  • barbecue — lower-case, but note that it’s spelled out and with a “c”

And of course, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and friends! May it be a fun, filling, safe and blessed holiday for you!

ChanteSez … Congratulations, Mr. President!

7 Nov

Since we’re fresh off the re-election of President Barak Obama, today’s ChanteSez Tip of the Day highlights a few political terms.

  • President is always capitalized before a name, as in the sentence above. Don’t ever abbreviate it (pres., prez, etc.).
  • Unless there would be confusion, it’s OK to omit the president’s first name on first reference. For example, “President Kennedy was one of the country’s most beloved leaders.”
  • But don’t put “former” or “ex” in caps. “History will show that former President Reagan was one of the country’s most divisive heads of state.”
  • Election Day may not be an official holiday, but it is capitalized.
  • Political parties are capitalized, but political ideas (democracy, communism, etc.) are not. For example, “Rep. John Lewis is a longstanding member of the Democratic Party, and he is a firm supporter of the democratic process. He considers himself to be a strong and unapologetic liberal.”

ChanteSez … Happy Halloween, everyone!

31 Oct

Happy Halloween, everyone! Here are a few tips related to the holiday. Have fun and be safe!

  • The word “Halloween” was derived as shorthand for All Hallows’ Evening.
  • Capitalize Hades, but not hell.
  • Capitalize Satan, but not the devil.

ChanteSez … How does your harvest look this season?

3 Oct

Fall is often associated with the time of harvest. If you’ve planted good seeds in rich soil, tended to them, and enough rain has fallen to give your seeds life, fall is when you reap the rewards of your efforts.

I sincerely hope that this season is filled with a bountiful harvest for all of my ChanteSez followers!

That’s the real message for today’s weekly ChanteSez.

But here’s today’s Grammar Tip of the Day: Seasons are not capitalized or abbreviated. Below, find a few more pointers.

  • The only exception to the above rule is when a season begins a sentence.
  • According to the calendar year, the seasons fall in this order: winter, spring, summer, fall. But for those who think of seasons according to the flow of nature, the seasons start with spring and end with winter.
  • Feel free to use “fall” and “autumn” interchangeably.

ChanteSez … I believe you can fly

11 Jul

Really, I do. And since I’m in Chicago — me and R. Kelly’s hometown — but flying back to Atlanta today, here are a few rules for things flight-related.

  • Capitalize “Flight,” and use numerals: Flight 1545
  • Same with “Terminal” and “Gate”: Terminal 7; Gate C
  • Airline companies take capitalized names, being proper nouns and all: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, US Airways, etc.
  • Also capitalize the proper names of airports: Midway International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
  • You can shorten the name of an airport, but don’t make one up: John F. Kennedy International Airport can be shortened to Kennedy Airport, but Boston Airport doesn’t exist. It’s actually Logan International Airport, or, if you prefer, Logan Airport.