San José State University

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Thayer Watkins
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The Unjustified Non-Capitalization
of the Proper Nouns Earth, Sun and Moon

The general rule for Enlish orthography is that words which are the names of particular persons, places or things should be written with their initial letter capitalized. It seems that this rule is only violated for the astronomical bodies Earth, Sun and Moon. The word universe also is typically not capitalized. There appears to be no justification for these lapses. Of course the word earth used for soil need not be capitalized nor should sun used in the sense of light. Moon is somewhat different in that it is used for any planetary satellite as well as the satellite of our Earth. Thus it would be proper to say something about our moon,, meaning our satellite without capitalization but we should say the Moon and our beloved Moon.

We should treat the non-application of the general rule of capitalization to the Earth, Sun, Moon and Universe as just as much of an error in writing as russia written instead of .


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