Hi! I’m Kathy Ide. In addition to being a published author, I’m a full-time professional freelance editor. For CAN, I’m blogging about tips for writers based on the manuscripts I edit.

Capitalization Rules for Writers – Part 1

Family Relationships

“Kinship names” (father, brother, aunt, cousin, etc.) should be lowercased when used generically or when preceded by a modifier. Examples:

     my dad
     the youngest mother in the group
     her aunt Shelly

When used in place of the name, kinship names are to be capitalized. Examples:

     I know that Mother’s middle name is Janice.
     Does Aunt Becky have a book signing on Saturday?
     Will Cousin Ed be at the birthday party?
     Hey, Dad, are we going fishing today?

Terms of Endearment

Terms of affection—aka “pet names” (honey, dear, sweetheart)—are lowercased … although some book publishers (mainly publishers of romance novels) have a house preference of capitalizing them.


About Kathy Ide

Kathy Ide, author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, has written books, articles, short stories, devotionals, play scripts, and Sunday school curriculum. She has ghostwritten ten nonfiction books and a five-book novel series. Kathy is a full-time freelance editor/proofreader/mentor for new writers, established authors, and book publishers. She speaks at writers’ conferences across the country. Kathy is the founder and director of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network ( and the Christian Editor Connection ( For more about Kathy, visit or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation