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Are Seasons Capitalized? The Definitive Answer

Are Seasons Capitalized? The Definitive Answer

The seasons—winter, spring, summer, and fall (or autumn, depending on your corner of the world)—make an appearance every year. Yet, every time one rolls around, the same question surfaces: Should seasons be capitalized?

The short answer is no. In most cases, the seasons do not require capitalization.

Let’s see why.

In general, seasons are not capitalized

Though summer and winter may seem human with their overbearing personalities, seasons are common nouns (not proper ones). They follow the rule of thumb that common nouns are lowercase:

  • I can’t believe winter will be here soon.

  • I want to know what you did last summer.

  • In spring, the flowers will be beautiful.

When can seasons be capitalized?

Every rule has exceptions, and capitalizing the seasons is actually sometimes the correct way to go. Hold down that Shift key when:

1. It’s the first word in the sentence

The rule of capitalizing the first word in a sentence trumps all other guidelines. If your sentence starts with winter, spring, summer or fall, the season name should be capitalized.

2. When it’s part of a proper name or title

The seasons aren’t proper nouns themselves, but they can be integrated into one. When this is the case, they should be capitalized along with the rest of the name: the Winter Olympic Games, the Spring/Summer 2021 Paris Fashion Week, names of films like I Know What You Did Last Summer, etc.

Personal note: If your friend happens to be named Autumn, treat her name like you’d treat your own. She’ll appreciate it. (Trust me.)

3. When it’s personified

Let’s be honest, the seasons sometimes feel larger than life. When seasons are treated like human beings—which happens often in poetry, or when you slip on a patch of ice and would like to call Winter a four letter word—they should be capitalized since they’re being used as a name. For example, you can say that Summer is relentless with her heat and Spring shows her personality to be full of love.

Examples of correct capitalization of seasons

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”—Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18”

“That is one good thing about this world… there are always sure to be more springs.”—Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home.”—Edith Sitwell, I Live Under a Black Sun

“Do you remember where I put my keys, Autumn?”—My husband

What about capitalizing days and months?

Maybe this all seems a bit unfair. After all, days, months and holidays are always capitalized since they are proper nouns:

  • I can’t wait for September.

  • Do you want to meet for our marketing meeting on Monday?

  • Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

The rules for what is a proper noun versus a common noun can seem arbitrary. Though months and days are proper nouns, seasons and periods of the day (morning, afternoon, evening) fall in the category of common nouns—and are hence lowercase. The only way to go is to learn them by heart.

In a nutshell

Remember, seasons are common nouns and should not be capitalized in most circumstances. Capitalization only occurs when the season is 1. the first word in the sentence, 2. part of a proper name or title, or 3. personified for poetic purposes.

Next time you get cozy with a mug of coffee to watch the leaves turn color, think of fall, not Fall.

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Autumn Kotsiuba, UX Writer at Wix

Autumn Kotsiuba, UX Writer at Wix

Born in Illinois, educated in Texas, and currently based in Kyiv. Autumn left the world of fried okra and cornfields behind for homemade vareniki and snow.

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