This week, when you gather with your siblings, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, mom, and dad, will you know how to write down all of their names correctly? And I don’t mean an impromptu spelling bee (there’s a great Thanksgiving idea… just kidding, I’m not that crazy).
Now, I’m going to ignore the cool kids with their graphic design backgrounds who just like writing everything—including proper names—in lower case (you know who you are). I’m also going to pretend I don’t notice the obsession with capitalizing all family names like a nonsensical sign of respect. Sometimes, it’s just “mom.” It’s true. Don’t worry. Respecting your elders is one thing, but don’t get carried away
Let’s talk about the method to the madness:
As you know, you capitalize names. If you’re using “mom” or “dad” as a proper name, capitalize it. To test whether this is the case, swap it out for their real name. If this swap makes sense, keep it upper case. If you’re referring to the role of “mother” or “father,” there’s no need to capitalize it. Perhaps that sounds trickier than it is. Seeing it in action will help:
Mom, what’s for dinner? (Mary, what’s for dinner—yep, checks out.)
Happy Thanksgiving, Grandpa! (Happy Thanksgiving, Ted—yep, that works too.)
My dad is excited about the football games on Thursday. (My David is excited—nope, that’s a bit weird.)
Across the country, moms and daughters will be prepping Thanksgiving feasts. (Across the country, Bettys and Sues will—okay, you get the idea.)
I hope this clears up the confusion. Have a happy turkey day, everyone!