Inconsistent Capitalization: Mom or mom?

One of the most common errors I see with students is the inconsistent capitalization of the word mom and dad. This tells me that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the rules surrounding capitalization. So let’s clear it up once and for all.

The words of relations such as mom, dad, grandma, aunt, and so on do not get capitalized when used to talk about the person as in “my mom” or “my grandpa.” However they DO get capitalized when they are being used in place of the person’s full name.

Any easy quick check: can you substitute the word of relation with the person’s given name? If so, then capitalize the word of relation.

letter G, capital letters

I like to bake with Grandma.

I like to bake with Mary.

Yes, since you could replace Grandma with her given name, be sure Grandma is capitalized.

Do not use a capital letter if you cannot replace it with her given name.

I like to bake with my grandma.

I like to bake with my Mary.

This is clearly not correct, so my grandma is not capitalized.

Take time to teach this easy rule to your students so they can avoid inconsistent will save them many errors in their writing!

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