One of the most common capitalization errors I see is regarding family members, especially parents. Here’s a refresher on the rule:
If the “Mom/mom” or “Dad/dad” is replacing the name of the person, then capitalize it because it’s a proper noun. If it’s replacing the title of the person, leave it in lowercase.
For example, let’s say you’re speaking to your sister about your parents, whose names are Gloria and Dale:
In the above scenario, “Mom” and “Dad” are capitalized because they are replacing “Gloria” and “Dale,” which are proper nouns. If you and your sister were to refer to your parents by their first names, you could use “Gloria” and “Dale” in the above exchange.
Now let’s say that you’re chatting with your sister about her in-laws. We’ll pretend your sister’s husband is named Bob, and his parents’ names are Linda and Sal.
In the above scenario, “mom” and “dad” are lowercase because they aren’t proper nouns. You couldn’t swap “Linda” and “Sal” for “mom” and “dad” there.
Here’s an example of a combination of the two scenarios:
Do you see the difference? If you’re still confused, keep this sentence on hand for future reference: “Mom and Dad, you drive me crazy sometimes, but you are also the best mom and dad in the world!”
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