Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Summer Fun


Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?

It is almost summertime in the United States, and the temperature is heating up in Chicagoland. But before it's time to hit the beach, let's talk about about some of the words associated with the season.


The word, summer, much like all of the seasonal names should not be capitalized unless the season is being personified, such as in poetry or a particularly lively piece of writing.


summer solstice
summer vacation

Personification example

And Summer, with her sun beating down mercilessly and omnipresent mosquitoes...


The word, sunbathe, should be one word, not split into two. This also goes for the verb forms of sunbathed and sunbathing.


When referring to the sun, keep it lowercase. The word is not a proper noun like other heavenly bodies, such as Venus or Saturn. The only time it should be capitalized is when referred to in its Greek (Helios) or Latin (Sol) name, but who really does that nowadays?


As you can see, summertime is one word.

Sun Belt

This refers to America’s states in the South and West, from Florida and Georgia through the Gulf states and on into California. This geographical reference should be capitalized.

EFG Digest
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These books are on my desk at all times. Maybe they'll help you as well.

The Associated Press Stylebook, 2017 edition
The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition
Strunk and White's The Elements of Style
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition


A professional writer/editor for almost 30 years, Karen Wojcik Berner's wide and varied experience includes such topics as grammar, blog content, book reviews, corporate communications, the arts, paint and coatings, real estate, the fire service, writing and literature, research, and publishing. An award-winning journalist, her work has appeared in several magazines, newspapers, and blogs, including the Chicago Tribune, Writer Unboxed, Women's Fiction Writers, Naperville magazine, and Fresh Fiction. She also is the author of the Bibliophiles series, contemporary fiction with a sprinkling of the classics, and is a member of the Chicago Writers’ Association. For more information on Karen, please visit www.karenberner.com.


Anonymous said…
Should sun be capitalized if we're talking about it as a heavenly body (for example: "The heavenly bodies are Mercury, Venus, Sun..."), or if it's being personified?
Hi, angel011.

According to both "AP Style" and the "Chicago Manual of Style," sun is usually lowercased in nontechnical contexts and always lowercased in the plural.

So, in your example, it should read: "The heavenly bodies are Mercury, Venus, the sun..."

Hope that helps.
Anonymous said…
Thank you, Karen!

Once again, English and Serbian have somewhat similar, but still different rules. :)
My pleasure! Thanks for reading.
There are quite a few words that are actually one word despite most people believing they are two.

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