Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Capitalization Rules for Writers (Part 4 of 8)

(Kathy Ide wrote this eight-part series.)

Pronouns for God

Today, most book publishers, even religious ones, prefer that pronouns referring to God or Jesus be lowercased. Several Bible versions lowercase pronouns for deity, including most of the newer translations. Therefore, capitalizing such pronouns can make a book seem old-fashioned and may give modern readers a sense that the book is irrelevant to their daily lives.

Some authors resist this trend, feeling that capitalization of deity pronouns shows respect for God. But in the English language, capitalization is mainly used to distinguish specific things from general things. We capitalize both God and Satan, Gandhi and Hitler, because they are all proper names, not because we respect them.

In general, capitalize pronouns for deity if:

* you want your book to have a deliberately old-fashioned tone,

* you quote extensively from a Bible version that capitalizes deity pronouns, or

* you’re writing for a publisher who currently uses the capitalized style.

If you have a strong preference that differs from the publisher’s, ask if they’ll allow it. Be prepared to decide whether this is going to be a deal-breaker for you. 

Whichever style you choose, make sure you are consistent throughout the manuscript.

NOTE: If you capitalize pronouns for deity, do not capitalize who, whom, or whose. But do capitalize You, Your, Yours, Me, My, and Mine.

Kathy Ide is a published author, ghostwriter, and freelance editor. She speaks at writers’ conferences, teaches online writing and editing courses, and mentors new writers. She’s the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network (www.TheChristianPEN.com) and the Christian Editor Network (www.ChristianEditor.com). Learn more at www.KathyIde.com.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this post. I use the KJV of the Bible in my Bible studies so this is helpful in figuring out what is the right thing to do in my books. Blessings, Deborah H. Bateman-Author

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