Titles

May 23, 2021

Capitalize family relationship titles when they are used with names or in place of names. Do not capitalize them if they do not replace the name.

Aunt Denise, Uncle Jerry, Grandfather Joe.
Mom told you to ask Dad since she was busy.
My mother told you to ask my father since she was busy.

Hint: If you can put the person’s name in place of the title, you should capitalize it. If you can’t replace the title with the name, don’t capitalize it.

Mom told you to ask Dad since she was busy.
Mom Nora told you to ask Dad Leo since she was busy. (That works, so they should be capitalized.)

My mother told you to ask my father since she was busy.
My mother Nora told you to ask my father Leo since she was busy. (That doesn’t work, so they shouldn’t be capitalized.)

Hint:If the title is preceded by a possessive pronoun (my, your, his, her, its, our, their) or a possessive noun (Josh’s, Susie’s) it should not be capitalized.

Capitalize titles of heads of state, royalty, and nobility when they are used with names, in place of names, or as appositives. Members of the nobility are often called by their titles. Therefore, the title becomes an alternate name and is capitalized. Titles of nobility are also capitalized when they are the names of titles of state or nobility.

Queen Elizabeth, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Duke Gunnar, President George Washington. Good morning, Prime Minister. the Duke of York, President of the United States.

Do not capitalize them if they do not replace the name.

The queen lives in a castle near the duke.
The president of the club is my sister.

Hint: According to some style manuals, the titles President or Prime Minister are capitalized to show special respect if they refer to the current holder of that office. This is a style choice, not a grammar rule. It varies from one style manual to another.

This week we watched the President meet with the Prime Minister of England.
In 1778 George Washington was president. (Not the current president)
The prince bowed to the queen. (Not the current prince or current queen)


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