Are Seasons Always Capitalized?

  • The general rule says that seasons should not be capitalized. They are common nouns, not proper nouns.
  • But there are a few exceptions that call for capitalization. Capitalize the name of a season when it’s the first word of a sentence or part of a proper noun. If the season is being personified, you can capitalize it then, too.

When we write the days of the week, we capitalize their names. We do the same for months. But when it comes to seasons, more often than not you’ll see them written in lowercase. Not that they’re always written that way—once in a while you’ll see them capitalized, which should suggest that there are some capitalization rules that apply to seasons after all. So here they are. blog7593

In General, Can You Capitalize Seasons?

The general rule is that you should not capitalize the names of the seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall (or autumn). The names of the seasons are not proper nouns. They’re general nouns, so they follow the capitalization rules that apply to other general nouns.

Does that seem unfair? We capitalize Monday and February, so why not summer? It’s a valid question. But then again, if we were to always capitalize the names we give to specific periods of time, wouldn’t we then also have to capitalize afternoon or morning? You can debate this as much as you’d like (and please do in the comment section), but as things stand right now, seasons are common nouns, so no capital letters for them.

When Can You Capitalize the Names of Seasons?

There’s one exception that you’ve probably already thought of: when the name of a season is the first word of a sentence, you should capitalize it. Likewise, capitalize seasons when they are part of a proper name or a title, like the Summer Olympics. If your name is Summer, which is great because it’s a lovely name, there’s no reason not to capitalize your own name.

If you’re a poetic soul and you like to think about seasons as if they were people, you can also capitalize their names. If you want to write a verse that describes how summer is caressing you with his warm arms, go ahead and capitalize that “s.” But when you’re done with the poem, remember to switch back to lowercase in your everyday correspondence.

Examples

This fall, you can cozy up in military-style outerwear, throw on a tartan coat, try out a sweeping cape, or keep the chill at bay with an elevated version of the workaday puffer jacket.New York Magazine

Southern California is having its smoggiest summer in nearly a decade and hospitals report an increase of people with breathing problems.ABC News

You could say Rob Connolly’s competent but slight thriller “Edge of Winter” is about extreme roughing it.The New York Times

Only at the end of spring did they rise above average, the Woodland Trust said.The Guardian

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Comments
  • Zenith

    How about when talking about academics? e.g., Fall admission, or Fall Semester, or Fall 2016? Is it okay to capitalize?

    • Uroshnor

      It’s fall admission, fall semester, but 2016 Fall Semester. If it’s the title of a specific session it’s capped, otherwise not.

      • Zenith

        Thank you, that was helpful.

  • Peachie Stevenson

    What about degrees? When do you capitalize masters and bachelors

    • Uroshnor

      If it’s “a master’s degree” it’s not capped, if it’s “a Bachelor of Science degree” it is.

  • Diego

    Well, we can reverse the question. The names of the seasons are not proper nouns: are the days of the week proper (= pertaining to a person or thing, in particular, special, specific way) names? I have some doubts.

  • Christopher in Portland

    About 80 years or so ago, when I was about 6 or 7 years old, my English mistress (that’s a mistress – or teacher – of English language, not the “other” kind of Mistress who just happens to hail from England!) told me that the four seasons were to be capitalized. Now grammarly tells me they should normally NOT be so. How am I expected to change everything I was taught back then..often by the whack of a cane across my anatomy (caning was permitted in those days, in England) just because of an app. that I chose to use, to correct my typos.?

    I think that I shall never see me write the name of a season without an initial capital letter. And since when did “high finance” enter into the picture when discussing grammar. “Capitalization” has to do with investments and suhc…not the upper-case first letter of a word.

    • Lucy

      About 60 yeas ago, when I was about 6 or 7 years old, my teacher in the US told me that seasons should not be capitalized. While we had no switches, the look of disappointment on the teacher’s face was all I need to change that capital to a lower case. Still active in the schools as a substitute teacher since my retirement from teaching, I see students and teachers alike doing whatever they want to do with upper case letters. Am I crazy for enjoying Grammarly over coffee in the morning instead of reading what’s going on in the world each day?

      • Christopher in Portland

        Lucy…you ask (rhetorically, I suspect) are you crazy for enjoying Grammarly with coffee, instead of the current state of affairs in the US and the world?…no, I suggest you’re conserving your sanity by doing so. I’ve sworn off all news etc. for the next, however long it takes, for the world to become sane again. Hang on there to your “Grammarly” and coffee…all will become well again.

  • PlatoSocrates

    Thank you GRAMMARLY! Your skilled pen and the creative contributions of bloggers reminds me of the truism, English (British English!) is surely the language of heaven, is it not! I am enjoying the sunsets of 53-years-plus teaching (British English and Business) and greatly enjoy the Grammarly Blog’s regular posts. So, come spring, summer, autumn and winter the valleys of Wales, the dales of Yorkshire and the cosmopolitan hubbub of London will continue to resound the electrifying cadence of the language of angels – those ethereal beings (real or not!) who, for some, add another dimension to everyday communication.

  • Sharon McMasters

    About 60 years ago in the United States, my teacher told me to capitalize the names of the four seasons and I have faithfully done so ever since.

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