There are times where you want to refer to a “mom” or “dad.” However, there are rules for capitalization and for keeping words lowercase. Knowing the difference between the two is crucial for proper grammar.
There are specific instances for capitalization. These will mostly be for when you’re starting a sentence or referencing “Mom” or “Dad” as a proper noun. In most other cases, it will refer to a common noun. Common nouns are always lowercase.
Starting a Sentence
The rule across the board in English is when you start a sentence, the first letter is always capitalized. Observe the following examples:
Mom is not going to arrive on time.
Dad’s lawnmower is acting up again.
As a Proper Noun
But, there are times when you want to specify your mother as a proper noun. In this way, it would replace their name because we usually don’t refer to our parents by their given name. So, you would capitalize it. For instance:
When Mom yelled, I hid under the blankets.
Could you ask Dad if I can borrow the car tomorrow night?
Written as a Quote
You can also capitalize when writing and you want to quote someone. You will either write this because they actually said it or it’s part of a story. In this case, you capitalize “Mom” or “Dad.”
“Go out and make your fortune,” Dad said.
“Take the trash out then wash,” according to Mom.
When It’s Not Good to Capitalize
While there are distinct rules to capitalize, this isn’t always going to be true.
When there’s a pronoun accompanying the words “mom” or “dad,” you will not capitalize the word. This is because they become common nouns.
Your mom is not going to be on time.
This lawnmower belongs to my dad.
Also, keep words lowercase when referring to a common noun where an article precedes the title.
All children benefit from having a mom and dad present when they grow up.
Many people devalue the importance of dad in the family unit.
The only times you’ll capitalize the words “mom” or “dad” will be when you’re using it as a proper noun in place of a name, at the start of a sentence or when you’re writing a quote to give ownership to “mom” or “dad.” Any other time will be lowercase.
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