When do you capitalize Mom and Dad?

No, we’re not talking about the movie, but I couldn’t resist using that image for this post.

Now, for the big question. When do you capitalize Mom and Dad, Mother and Father, and all those other parental titles?

I’m glad you asked because that’s a very good question that tends to throw people for a loop every now and then. Check out the following sentence–

I know Mom is my mom and Dad is my dad because nobody else would put up with me.

How do you know when to capitalize Mom and Dad? A quick assumption might be to use lowercase ‘m’ whenever the parental title is preceded by ‘my’, and that’s actually a pretty decent guess that will take some of the confusion out of the picture . . . but why does ‘my’ make a difference?

The answer is deceptively simple. It’s not really the ‘my’; it’s just that ‘my’ tends to get used frequently when writing about parents. If you can substitute a name for the family title, you capitalize. Otherwise, it remains lowercase. Check out the examples below.

My mom took us to the movies. (Lowercase because My Alice took us to the movies doesn’t work)

However…

Mom took us to the movies. (Capitalized because Alice took us to the movies also works)

The same works for Mother, Father, Dad, Grandpa, and Grandma.

Hope that helps the next time your story involves parents.