Can You Capitalize Nouns that Aren't Proper?

Q: Is it acceptable to capitalize key words in a spiritual book, i.e., Source, Soul, Spirit, Consciousness and Oneness when sprinkled throughout the manuscript? –Mary C.

A: Yes, it’s OK to capitalize those terms as long as you do it consistently throughout your manuscript. If it’s an issue, your editor will correct it.

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About Ben Sobieck

Benjamin Sobieck is a Wattpad Star and 2016 Watty Award winner. He’s best known on Wattpad for Glass Eye: Confessions of a Fake Psychic Detective, the Watty Award–winning sequel Black Eye, and When the Black-Eyed Children Knock & Other Stories. Four of his titles have appeared on Wattpad Top 100 Hot Lists, all at the same time.

4 thoughts on “Can You Capitalize Nouns that Aren't Proper?

  1. Rebecca Brown


    I am unable to find a contact email for you, hence the "comment."

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    Rebecca Brown

  2. Texanne

    Honestly, I could just scream. You strongly prefer the correct sneaked over the colloquial snuck. That’s fine.

    But at the end of your article about language usage, you wrote:
    "When taking in a good book or article, ***HONE IN*** on what resonates with you and then underline those parts."

    Please, please, please tell everyone that the proper phrase is HOME IN, not, not, not HONE IN. To hone is to sharpen. Do you sharpen in on a phrase? No, you do not. Now, you can twist yourself into knots to justify this travesty, but don’t bother. It is wrong. It is wrong to justify incorrect usage, too, and only accelerates the decline of communication.

  3. Pat Marinelli

    Brian, it drives me crazy when I read books where the author refers to a Marine or the President and doesn’t capitalize the word. Funniest one was president when referring the President of the United States was not capitalized, but First Lady was. It pulled me right out of the story every time I came to another one. I’ve seen references to the Secret Service, the Coast Guard, Navy, Army and the Air Force all lower case.

    Recently I sent a ms out to be printed and they changed the cover copy to read the shore instead of the Shore when referring to the Jersey Shore. Bruce would be so disappointed, but the editor was from a Mid-western state. I requested the change and explained why.

    1. garbonzo607

      President should not be capitalized in president of the United States. First lady should not have been capitalized when it is clearly understood who it is referring to.


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