How formal should be your novel’s voice?
What are ‘The Big Six’ book publishers?

Capitalize nouns of direct address

Sometime, Capitalize nouns of direct addresswords can serve as both proper and common nouns. You’ll recall from the drones of your middle school English teacher that proper nouns are those that need to be capitalized, like city names (Denver, Atlanta, Miami) and states (Colorado, Georgia, Florida), while common nouns refer to everyday items (mountains, peaches, nightclubs). One place this gets tricky is when using common nouns that refer to people, such as mom, dad, mama, pops, grandma and grandpa.

The simple rule is to just capitalize them in dialogue when the character directly speaks to that person (which is a noun of direct address). Otherwise, they're lowercase.
RIGHT: I'll ask dad for the car keys.
WRONG (in more ways than one): If Dad won't give them to me, I'll ask Mom.
RIGHT: "Hey Dad, see you later,” Stan said, “can I have the car keys, please?"

The rule follows the principle that in dialogue you’re using a common noun as a name, which is a proper noun. In other words, if you’re asking for the car keys, show some deference to authority.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you hail from a big city like Philadelphia or a small town like Pittsburgh, New Hampshire, I can provide that second eye.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)