Capitalization of titles

Today I'm going to talk about one specific use of capitalization: titles. This will include royal titles (King, Queen) and titles used in place of names (Mom, Dad).


  • Only capitalize if you use the person's name.
    • King Henry VIII was married six times.
    • King Henry VIII divorced Queen Katherine of Aragon.
  • Do not capitalize if referring to the generic office/title.
    • The king was married six times.
    • King Henry VIII divorced his queen, Katherine of Aragon.
  • This rule is the same for all titles, offices, etc. For example:
    • Pope John Paul; the pope
    • Senator John Kerry; the senator
    • the prince; Prince of Wales

Personal titles

  • When using a personal title (Mom, Dad, Grandma, etc.), there is a simple rule to determine if you should capitalize it. Ask yourself "Would this sentence make sense if I put the person's real name instead of the title?" If yes, it should be capitalized. 
    • Mom is the best.
    • I love you, Grandma.
  • Do not capitalize if the title is preceded by a word such as "my", "her", etc.
    • My mom is the best.
    • I love my grandma.

Is there another use of capitalization that you have trouble with? I'm happy to answer your questions. Thanks for reading!


Today I'm going to talk about apostrophes. This is probably the most misused punctuation I see, and it is my personal pet peeve.

The primary use for apostrophes is to show ownership. 

the owner's car

the children's toys

The mistake I see most often is using an apostrophe to make a word plural:

the guy's

When a word ends with "s", there are two ways to use an apostrophe and both are correct:

Add "'s":

the boss's desk

Add an apostrophe:

the boss' desk

To make a plural word show ownership, simply add an apostrophe.

the guys' night out

Wrong: the guy's night out (this means their is only one guy)

The other use for an apostrophe is in a contraction. The apostrophe goes where the letter that is left out would go.

Doesn't NOT does'nt

I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if you have any questions!



A lot of people are intimidated by semicolons and don't know how to use them. Once you know how to use them, they really aren't that difficult.

Semicolons are used to link two independent clauses that are closely related. If you don't remember from elementary school, independent clauses are clauses that can stand on their own. So basically, a semicolon is used in place of a period. Here's an example: 

I can't go out tonight; I have a big test tomorrow. 

The sentence also makes sense with a period instead.

I can't go out tonight. I have a big test tomorrow.

One thing that is not correct is using a semicolon followed by a conjunction. Choose one or the other.

I can't go out tonight; because I have a big test tomorrow. 

When figuring out if you are using a semicolon correctly, ask yourself a couple of questions:

  1. Can the two sentences stand on their own? 
  2. Are the two sentences related somehow? 

If the answer to both is yes, congratulations you just figured out how to use a semicolon! 

For a funnier explanation, check out The Oatmeal's comic.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions. I am always open to suggestions for further blog posts.