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Do You Capitalize Dad in Writing?

If you guessed that writing dad in lowercase or capital has something to do with common nouns vs proper nouns, you’re onto something.

Is “dad” capitalized?  

The answer is it depends on whether dad is used as a proper noun or a common noun in the text. As a proper noun, “Dad” should be capitalized. As a common noun, dad uses lowercase letters. First, let’s understand a couple of basic rules about grammar, the difference between proper nouns and common nouns, and when to capitalize—in the following section.

Back to the basics: proper nouns vs common nouns

One of the main capitalization rules in English grammar is that all proper nouns are capitalized, no matter where they appear in a sentence. Proper nouns name specific people, places, things, or ideas. A person’s name is a proper noun, and so is the name of a country or company. That said, simply writing ‘country’ or ‘company’, does not require these words to take on a capital letter.

This is because they are common nouns: they refer to a general category or type of thing and do not point out a specific thing or entity. This chart shows the difference between both common and proper noun forms:

Examples of sentences with Dad as a proper noun:

The following sentences demonstrate the correct use of dad as a proper noun:

1. You should have seen Dad’s face.

2. As far as that went, Mom did seem mighty upset for a while after Dad left.

3. That night… was Dads birthday.

4. I guess I distrusted all men because of what Dad did.

5. Dad would have given her anything she wanted.

6. Like I said, Russie’s mother was always strange, but after Dad died, she really became eccentric.

7. Mom and Dad wouldn’t let me come up here when I was little because they were afraid I would fall down the stairs.

8. Dad said we were going to watch some horses race tomorrow.

9. She had inherited violet eyes from her Mother, but what if the baby had blue eyes like Dad?

10. In her mind’s eye, she could see Mom, gray-haired, wrinkled and tired-but still taking joy in putting food on the table for Dad.

When to write dad or other family members in lowercase

Grammar rules for when to capitalize the names of family members: Use lowercase letters for names of family members (i.e., dad, mom, sister, brother, grandma, etc.) when they follow a possessive determiner, such as ‘my’. Example: ‘My dad took me to the football game last night.’ The following sentences demonstrate the correct use of dad as a common noun, or as a proper noun but in lowercase letters:

1.  I’ve got a lot to learn about being a dad.

2. After a divorce, children need to understand the way their mom and dad raise them will not change.

3. After school, my dad took me to my piano lesson.

4. My grades have lowered significantly, as a result, my dad grounded me.

5. For every household, a dad is a vital pillar in supporting the family.

Synonyms for dad

  • Father
  • Daddy
  • Papa
  • Old man
  • Parent
  • Guardian
  • Tata
  • Dada

What’re personal pronouns?

What’s the difference between they’re, their, and there?

Whose vs who’s?

In review: is ‘dad’ written in capital letters

When used as a proper noun in the place of a specific person’s name, capitalize Dad in writing. As a common noun, dad remains in lowercase letters. When dad is used after the possessive adjective or pronoun my, dad does not require a capital letter since these possessives provide disambiguation in themselves.


  1. Sentence examples are from
  2. Possessive determiners

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