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"Son" vs. "son"
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Junior Member
Posts: 4
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Looking for confirmation or supported disagreement on capitalization. Here is the usage example:
The stranger said, "It's time to go, [Son/son]."

My logic in favor of capitalizing "Son":

1)Names are capitalized. As the word's usage here is as a substitute for the individual's name, my inclination is to capitalize "Son."

2)To capitalize would be in keeping with the convention of "Mom" vs. "mom" in "I love my mom" vs. "I love you, Mom."

Agree or disagree? Either way, thanks for you input.

oz-zie
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Posts: 8501
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"Mother/Mom" is capitalized much more frequently than "son," in my opinion.

And it fits the natural intra-family hierarchy or respect.
Junior Member
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Since the response from Jerry seemed so arbitrary, I Googled & found the references listed below. I stopped looking after the first three, as each agreed with one another. Conversely, each of those references disagree with Jerry's opinion, as offered.

Verdict: "Son," in the example provided in the original question, should be capitalized as it is, indeed, used as a substitute for a name.

References:
From http://www.gatago.com/alt/english/usage/5915135.html:
"Titles such as mother, father, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa are capitalized
when used in place of a name and not otherwise:
Did you hear my mom screaming?
Did you hear Mom screaming?"

From http://home.comcast.net/~garbl/stylemanual/fthrug.htm#family%20names:
"Capitalize family names like dad, mother, son and grandmother only when they are before the name of a person or when they substitute for the name of a person: He sent an e-mail message to Aunt Larson. She sent an e-mail message to Father. She sent an e-mail message to her dad. 'Would you hand me the spatula, Son?'"

From http://library.thinkquest.org/2947/capitalization.html:
"Capitalize words that are used as names. Sometimes certain words are used as names.
Example:
A) Are you going to the store Mom?
B) How are you Mom?
C) My mom is fine."
<Grammar Exchange 2>
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Since the words "Mother" and "Father" are written with a capital letter in direct address, it would seem logical to use a capital for the words "son" and "daughter." This is not the case, however. In direct address, the words doesn't have a capital letter. Also, "son" and "daughter" are not names as are 'Mother" and "Father." For example, you can say

"”Mother says she's coming to visit for a month

...but you don't say

"”Honey, *son says he has a new girl friend. Let's invite her for dinner

I searched "Come here son" on Google. In 220 examples (there were 490 but I stopped at 220), there was one and only one example of the word with a capital letter.

Marilyn
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