Earth/earth, Moon/moon, Sun/sun

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Diddy, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. Diddy

    Diddy Senior Member

    Hi forum!!!

    I have a quite interesting question. I learnt from an English grammar and style textbook that names of planets such as "moon, earth, and sun" are never capitalized. However, if the word earth appears accompanied by another planet that should be capitalized (all remaining planets in the solar system), until then we have to capitalize the word "earth", as follows:

    The earth is an important planet in the solar system.
    The moon and the earth are like brother and sister.
    Both Saturn and Earth are the two planets that you have to study for tomorrow's exam.

    Nevertheless, I have found in some articles and books that the word "earth" is capitalized, even when it is mentioned alone throughout the text. Then:

    1. Which one is the correct way of writing; earth/Earth?
    2. What happens with the words "moon" and "sun"? Are those words also between that opposite way of thinking?

    Thanks for your answers,
  2. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia
    I have to say, I've never heard of such a rule, and neither, it seems, have NASA!

    I would always refer to the planet Earth with a capital E, the same as Venus, Mars, Jupiter etc.

    I wouldn't tend to use a capital for the sun or moon (although it is interesting to note that NASA would use capitals for both) although I would use a capital if I referred to the sun as Sol.
  3. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    This is a matter of style and one follows the style guide one chooses unless, of course, one's employer, teacher or local custom dictates otherwise.

    The Associated Press Stylebook, used by nearly all U.S. newspapers and journalism schools, says to capitalize the names of planets, including Earth, when it is used specifically as the name of our planet. The AP, however, lowercases "moon."
  4. IrishStar Senior Member

    Could it be that those words should be capitalised only when they are referred to as planets? I mean, I might say "The sun is shining today" and not actually think of the planet itself, but just of the nice thing we see in the sky. However I might also say "The Sun is xxx km away from the Earth" and then I would capitalise these words because I am actually thinking of the planets.

    Does it make sense? :confused:
  5. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    Keep in mind that there is nothing like a "Royal Academy" that makes rules for English. As a result, no rule is "official", and anyone who writes on the subject can proclaim his own "rule" if he wants to!
  6. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    Yes - it seems to be good guidance.

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