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capitalization: family relationships

Capitalize terms for family relationships only when the name of a person follows, when they are unmodified, or when they are used in direct address:

  • You inherited your keen eyes from Grandfather Smith.
  • Did you invite Aunt Sarah?
  • We met Mother at the theatre.
  • Write to me, Son, and tell me how you are.


  • John’s grandfather served in the army.
  • Our aunt, Sarah Vick, is an engineer.
  • Your mother called while you were out.
  • Janet and Gordon’s son is visiting them.