When To Capitalize Dad, Mom, And Other Family Titles

It’s natural to want to give family members all the honors—after all, in our lives, they are some of the most important people. But are their titles capitalized? Is it proper to address mom as Mom or refer to your favorite aunt as Aunt Viv?

Should family member titles be capitalized?

As with most rules of capitalization, there are instances in which you both capitalize family titles and ones in which you don’t. But the rules are fairly easy to memorize.

When to capitalize family member titles

You should capitalize family member titles when addressing your own relatives: hello, Mother. A good rule to follow is to capitalize them if they are used as proper nouns, as in the previous example. The word Mother is a proper noun standing in for the mother’s name.

Family member titles are also capitalized when used before a family member’s name: I invited Uncle Chet to the baseball game. In this case, this is not a direct address.

Examples of family member titles capitalized

 

  • Hey, Mom, where’s the remote control?
  • Dad, I’m going to the store now.
  • Grandma, are you joining us for dinner tonight?
  • Daniel will finally meet Uncle Maurice at the family reunion.

When not to capitalize family member titles

If used as common nouns, don’t capitalize, as in: We honor all mothers in May. In other words, capitalize words such as Mother, Father, Grandmother, Grandfather, Son, Daughter, and Sis when they are used in place of the person’s name. Do not capitalize them when they follow possessive pronouns such as her, his, my, our, your.

Examples of family member titles not capitalized

 

  • Margo and her mom are going to the museum.
  • My brother is visiting from Chicago until Sunday.
  • Several fathers volunteered to help clean up the playground.
  • The children interviewed their grandparents for a class assignment.

So go ahead and capitalize the names of those important family members in your life, but remember not to capitalize when using a possessive pronoun.

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