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Ralyks
05-04-2006, 04:37 PM
When heaven and hell are referred to as actual places, are the words capitalized? I have seen it done both ways even when they are referred to as actual places, and I have not found a fast rule on this.

maestrowork
05-04-2006, 04:43 PM
Good heavens, hell no.

;)

I don't really know. I don't capitalize them. I'd say "he's going to heaven, since hell won't accept him." But I'm probably wrong.

Jamesaritchie
05-04-2006, 06:17 PM
When heaven and hell are referred to as actual places, are the words capitalized? I have seen it done both ways even when they are referred to as actual places, and I have not found a fast rule on this.


I've seen this argued both ways. Some say that both Heaven and Hell should be capitalized if the the reference is to an actual place, the Christian Heaven and Hell. Others say no because neither is capitalized in the Bible.

I tend to agree with the latter, but you can get an argument, whichever way you go.

MarkN
05-04-2006, 06:27 PM
I think it's more a stylistic question. Is your story trying to make Heaven and Hell sound like actual organized governmental units, like San Francisco and Dallas (or California and Texas) or merely localities (like "on the earth" and "on the moon")?

No comparisons are necessarily implied by the above examples, by the way... :D

Anya Smith
05-04-2006, 06:48 PM
How about capitalizie Human. We capitalize African, Asian, Caucasian, Italian, Spanish, Polish, etc... Human is a collective for all these, yet I don't see many people capitalizing it. And in scifi books, names of aliens species are capitallized but not Human.

Can we change the rules? Please.

katiemac
05-04-2006, 10:04 PM
I'd say it's your choice. Just be consistent.

reph
05-04-2006, 10:11 PM
How about capitalizie Human. We capitalize African, Asian, Caucasian, Italian, Spanish, Polish, etc... Human is a collective for all these, yet I don't see many people capitalizing it.You shouldn't see any people capitalizing it. "African" and the rest are derived from proper names of places. "Human" is a different kind of word: it doesn't mean "pertaining to the land of Hum."

Anya Smith
05-04-2006, 10:13 PM
You shouldn't see any people capitalizing it. "African" and the rest are derived from proper names of places. "Human" is a different kind of word: it doesn't mean "pertaining to the land of Hum."

No, not pertaining to the land of Hum. But is't the name of our species. I think it should be capitalized.

maestrowork
05-04-2006, 10:24 PM
You shouldn't see any people capitalizing it. "African" and the rest are derived from proper names of places. "Human" is a different kind of word: it doesn't mean "pertaining to the land of Hum."

However, "Earthlings" should be capitalized. ;)

maestrowork
05-04-2006, 10:24 PM
No, not pertaining to the land of Hum. But is't the name of our species. I think it should be capitalized.

The name of our species is Homo sapiens, which is capitalized. The word "human" is like "cat," "dog," and "rabbit." No capitalization.

Bartholomew
05-04-2006, 10:34 PM
Its all a matter of style.

Cat Scratch
05-05-2006, 12:09 AM
I usually decide if my character or narrator believes in god (or God) and leave it up to her. In one book my narrator was agnostic and didn't capitalize dieties and related terms. This latest ms, my new character was a believer.

Anya Smith
05-05-2006, 12:48 AM
The name of our species is Homo sapiens, which is capitalized. The word "human" is like "cat," "dog," and "rabbit." No capitalization.

But when sci-fi authors write about alien species and use their names, like the Zardalu, for example (Charles Sheffield, Heritage Universe). Those alien species' names are always capitalized.

reph
05-05-2006, 04:47 AM
But when sci-fi authors write about alien species and use their names, like the Zardalu, for example (Charles Sheffield, Heritage Universe). Those alien species' names are always capitalized.That kind of capitalizing might flow from the habit of modeling human contact with aliens after the historical experience of European explorers and settlers who met, say, a new American Indian tribe or a Pacific Island population.

Anya Smith
05-05-2006, 08:49 AM
Well, I'm going to capitalize us even if it's not correct. I think Humans are capital.:)

Jamesaritchie
05-05-2006, 05:20 PM
Well, I'm going to capitalize us even if it's not correct. I think Humans are capital.:)


As an editor, seeing the word "human" capitalized would drive me nuts. It really is like capitalizing rabbit. If it came too soon in a story, I might even stop reading. Even if I didn't, I'd mutter up a storm, and remove the offending capitals, all the while wondering why this writer gave me extra work to do.

When SF writers capitalize an alien species, it's nothing like capitalizing the word "human." It's like capitalizing "Homo Sapiens," which is the specific term for what we are.

I think it best to assume that aliens don't use Latin, which means that Zardalu is the specific term from what they are, and so gets capitalized. It's much more logical than trying to capitalize "human."

Anya Smith
05-06-2006, 02:57 AM
Well, thanks for telling me that. I wonder if other editors would feel the same way. I don't know, but this rule just bugs me. I'll get over it. It's only a click of a button to change all the "Human" in my stories.

A. J. Luxton
05-06-2006, 07:34 AM
It WOULD actually be kind of neat to have aliens who went around referring to humans as "You! Homosapiens!"

Daughter of Faulkner
05-06-2006, 07:53 AM
whichever you choose to do.
In my books I do only because their based on / set in an actual Heaven & a Hell with angels, spirits, amid human beings all over the place and so forth.
Like I write: a city called Heaven or he is from the center of Hell. You get the point.

However, if an editor suggests to me to not cap. I will listen.

Keep writing!

:e2BIC:

Jamesaritchie
05-06-2006, 12:12 PM
Well, thanks for telling me that. I wonder if other editors would feel the same way. I don't know, but this rule just bugs me. I'll get over it. It's only a click of a button to change all the "Human" in my stories.



I think all editors want you to follow standard usage rules. Capitalizing "human" is no different than not capitalizing New York.

Jamesaritchie
05-06-2006, 12:13 PM
It WOULD actually be kind of neat to have aliens who went around referring to humans as "You! Homosapiens!"



I can't remember the particular stories, but I have seen this done more than once.

Jenan Mac
05-08-2006, 11:58 PM
I usually decide if my character or narrator believes in god (or God) and leave it up to her. In one book my narrator was agnostic and didn't capitalize dieties and related terms. This latest ms, my new character was a believer.

Generally, I think it depends on whether it's a name or a job description.

lauram
05-09-2006, 04:21 PM
But if we were from the land of Hum, we'd be Humans right? ;)

Jenan Mac
05-10-2006, 08:38 PM
It WOULD actually be kind of neat to have aliens who went around referring to humans as "You! Homosapiens!"



Ack! One of the kids in my autism group did that for awhile. It's very.... odd.

SeanDSchaffer
05-11-2006, 07:46 AM
I've seen this argued both ways. Some say that both Heaven and Hell should be capitalized if the the reference is to an actual place, the Christian Heaven and Hell. Others say no because neither is capitalized in the Bible.

I tend to agree with the latter, but you can get an argument, whichever way you go.


Emphasis Mine.

You know, James? I've thought about that myself, and the conclusion I've made is that the KJV Bible probably does not capitalize because it's written in Shakespearean English....which is different enough from our modern version of the English Language to justify the non-capitalization in the Bible, but not in modern writing.

Plus, there's the issue of Heaven and Hell being the proper names of particular places. A good example is that the proper names of states or countries, are capitalized. (i.e. 'The State of Oregon' vs. 'the state of oregon'.)

However, I would at the same time argue that using the words 'heaven' and 'hell' as oaths or as part of cliches, would be different; oaths and cliches don't necessarily refer literally to the places mentioned in the Bible. (i.e.: 'Go to hell'; 'heaven on earth')

Anya Smith
05-23-2006, 05:49 AM
I just finished reading a book by Jeanne Cavelos, "Casting Shadows" in the Babylon 5, Technomages series, and she capitalized Human every time when she referred to the Human race.

I suppose other SF writers, I mean published authors, think it's the proper form.

Puddle Jumper
05-23-2006, 05:55 AM
I'd say it's your choice. Just be consistent.
I agree.

I once read a book where the author always lower cased the name satan to show disrespect. Since it's a formal name it would be capitalized according to the rules of writing, but the author was consistant and had a reason for doing so. So I think if you're consistant and have a reason for doing it, you can pretty much do anything you want.

Sassenach
05-23-2006, 06:18 AM
I agree.

I once read a book where the author always lower cased the name satan to show disrespect. Since it's a formal name it would be capitalized according to the rules of writing, but the author was consistant and had a reason for doing so. So I think if you're consistant and have a reason for doing it, you can pretty much do anything you want.

Satan was really bummed by that.

Thirdrail
04-02-2008, 04:31 PM
How about capitalizie Human. We capitalize African, Asian, Caucasian, Italian, Spanish, Polish, etc... Human is a collective for all these, yet I don't see many people capitalizing it. And in scifi books, names of aliens species are capitallized but not Human.

Can we change the rules? Please.


Yeah, I agree. In favor of our side, I'd like to raise the famous "Wookie Defense".

At the point where you're introducing yourself to the Wookie Ambassador as a "Human", you've re-defined the word a little. It's not like rabbit or dog anymore. Human has essentially become your nationality, even if Earth is not called Hum. Wookies aren't from Wook either. Wookies are from Kashyyyk. If you're going to capitalize Wookie and Kashyyyk, then Human and Earth should be caps too. That's why not capitalizing Human is like hating Han Solo.

Do you want to hate Han Solo? The defense rests. Thank you.

SHBueche
04-02-2008, 06:09 PM
This is a great question, I personally with go with capitals--Heaven and Hell (as for the earlier poster, San Francisco and Dallas, are you implying that San Francisco is Heaven and Dallas is Hell?!).

absitinvidia
04-03-2008, 03:18 AM
But when sci-fi authors write about alien species and use their names, like the Zardalu, for example (Charles Sheffield, Heritage Universe). Those alien species' names are always capitalized.

So is Earthling. Many times those designations are based on where the aliens are from, not the name of the species.

We don't capitalize cat or dog or hedgehog when they're used as the common names of animal species. For that reason, you don't capitalize human. If you want to use lots of capital letters, switch to German

:-)

Danalynn
04-05-2008, 06:59 AM
Emphasis Mine.

You know, James? I've thought about that myself, and the conclusion I've made is that the KJV Bible probably does not capitalize because it's written in Shakespearean English....which is different enough from our modern version of the English Language to justify the non-capitalization in the Bible, but not in modern writing.

Plus, there's the issue of Heaven and Hell being the proper names of particular places. A good example is that the proper names of states or countries, are capitalized. (i.e. 'The State of Oregon' vs. 'the state of oregon'.)

However, I would at the same time argue that using the words 'heaven' and 'hell' as oaths or as part of cliches, would be different; oaths and cliches don't necessarily refer literally to the places mentioned in the Bible. (i.e.: 'Go to hell'; 'heaven on earth')

What a great topic!
:Sun:
Thank you for bringing this up, I have been wondering about whether or not to capitalize the word heaven for a while now.


So, am I doing it correctly in the following sentences?

She always smelled so nice, like the way I've imagined that Heaven probably smells.

Only Heaven can smell better than this.

Balloons fell all around us, and Tiffany must've thought she was in heaven.

My wrist hurt like hell.

I sure as hell can't explain it.

Am I writing these correctly?
. . :e2cookie: . .

StephanieFox
04-08-2008, 11:25 AM
I've seen an odd capitalization problem and I can't get publications to go along. The word Pagan, when referring to modern-day Neo-Pagans is not capitalized in most publications. When I've complained, editors say the Stylebook says that you don't capitalize dead religions, but since they've just quoted a live Pagan, it's obviously not a dead religion.

Then they claim it's not capitalized because it's not a religion, it's an umbrella term for a number of religions (like Wicca, which they will capitalize). When I point out that Protestant is an umbrella term and Christian is an umbrella term, they have no argument, but they still won't capitalize Pagan.

What's the deal?

Westwind
05-11-2012, 07:39 AM
The words heaven and hell, as well as purgatory, limbo, paradise, and nirvana — are not capitalized. Chicago Manual of Style says so, and that is the bible of writing and editing. Other style books agree, including the AP stylebook — (Associated Press). Curb that urge. It's the mark of an amateur writer to be capitalizing words like that.

CMS: 8.108 for your reference.

And invest in a copy. It's not something to just make up or decide on your own in a forum. There are style guides for journalism, for books, for dissertations — for specific fields of study — use them!

Xelebes
05-11-2012, 08:22 AM
The words heaven and hell, as well as purgatory, limbo, paradise, and nirvana — are not capitalized. Chicago Manual of Style says so, and that is the bible of writing and editing. Other style books agree, including the AP stylebook — (Associated Press). Curb that urge. It's the mark of an amateur writer to be capitalizing words like that.

CMS: 8.108 for your reference.

And invest in a copy. It's not something to just make up or decide on your own in a forum. There are style guides for journalism, for books, for dissertations — for specific fields of study — use them!

You might also want to consult The Canadian Style, Canadian Press Stylebook, Fowler's, Strunk & White, (Australian) Style Manual, English Style Manual, Cambridge Handbook, King's English, New Hart's Rules, The Complete Plain Words, and so forth.

Medievalist
05-11-2012, 08:43 AM
Don't worry about it. Just be consistent.

This is one of the things your publisher and editor will have a house style sheet to cover.

And no, CMS is not "the bible" for any publisher except the University of Chicago Press.

They all have some very specific quirks of their own and a house style sheet. And some don't use CMS at all—especially those that aren't in the U.S.

You Necro'd a 2008 Thread ! DUDE! That is so POINTLESS. It's what spammers do.

blacbird
05-11-2012, 01:04 PM
No, not pertaining to the land of Hum. But is't the name of our species. I think it should be capitalized.

The formal name of our species is Homo sapiens, for which the generic name is capitalized, and the specific epithet is not, and the entire thing is rendered in italics, by standard practice; "human" is just an informal noun, analogous to "dog" or "cat".

caw

evilrooster
05-11-2012, 01:50 PM
The formal name of our species is Homo sapiens, for which the generic name is capitalized, and the specific epithet is not, and the entire thing is rendered in italics, by standard practice; "human" is just an informal noun, analogous to "dog" or "cat".


I think a culture war over the capitalization of "human" in comparison/contrast to the names of alien species would be an interesting touch in a science fiction book.

Mac H.
05-11-2012, 03:05 PM
I don't care if it's a necro'd thread. It's a great subject.

In sci-fi I've always seen 'Terran' as capitalised ...

It never occurred to me that 'Human' wasn't.

And I'm so going to quote the 'Wookie defense' now. A great name for a band. Or, at the risk of XKCDing the thread ... a blog.

Mac
(PS: It was also a pretty funny concept ... the idea that a novelist is marking themself as an amateur if .. shock horror ... their novel doesn't follow the style manual of the University of Chicago ! Always good for a laugh )

Rufus Coppertop
05-11-2012, 04:37 PM
Well, I'm going to capitalize us even if it's not correct. I think Humans are capital.:)

I think it's a Dog of an idea. :ROFL:

Rufus Coppertop
05-11-2012, 04:42 PM
But if we were from the land of Hum, we'd be Humans right? ;)Or Humites? Humalese? Humings?

evilrooster
05-11-2012, 04:42 PM
I think it's a Dog of an idea. :ROFL:

I keep to lowercase so that people underestimate me. :evil

Rufus Coppertop
05-11-2012, 04:45 PM
I keep to lowercase so that people underestimate me. :evil

Oh dear! So you're cunning as well as evil?

James D. Macdonald
05-11-2012, 05:15 PM
When the Chicago Manual of Style is wrong, which it frequently is, just take a small red pen and enter the correction in your copy.

Paul
05-11-2012, 05:43 PM
Yeah, I agree. In favor of our side, I'd like to raise the famous "Wookie Defense".

At the point where you're introducing yourself to the Wookie Ambassador as a "Human", you've re-defined the word a little. It's not like rabbit or dog anymore. Human has essentially become your nationality, even if Earth is not called Hum. Wookies aren't from Wook either. Wookies are from Kashyyyk. If you're going to capitalize Wookie and Kashyyyk, then Human and Earth should be caps too. That's why not capitalizing Human is like hating Han Solo.

Do you want to hate Han Solo? The defense rests. Thank you.
Yes but maybe Kashyyyk has a few different groups of Wookie like creatures and Wookie is used in the way we use English or American or French as a different group of humans?

what 'bout them bananas?

ArchaWriter
05-14-2012, 05:47 AM
I never really thought about it. I used it in my ms, referring to a place you go when you die. But I didn't capitalize it. It makes me wonder if it is a proper noun. I think it is, in my case. But still, I didn't capitalize it. Now I'm confused.

MonkeyShiner
05-15-2012, 02:34 AM
Good heavens, hell no.

;).

ROFL :e2coffee:

Once!
05-15-2012, 11:48 AM
My twopennorth...

We tend to capitalise proper nouns - eg people and places. That would suggest that H & H should be capitalised.

However, heaven and hell have become more than just places. They have become concepts. We refer to ourselves as being in heaven or in hell (query letter hell, anyone?) when we don't mean the actual places. Heaven has become a state of being rather than - or as well as - a place.

So, through common usage, the caps have dropped off. In most instances you wouldn't capitalise either, but you might want to in order to make a point in a fantasy novel. For example, you might want to make hell a real place.

The "human/ wookie" question raises another factor. We tend to be human-centred in our use of language. This means that we use lowercase for things that probably ought to be uppercase after first contact.

For example, we usually refer to "the sun". That's okay for now. Although we know that there are lots of suns and it's just another star, for most conversational purposes it's the only one we need to talk about.

But when we are talking about astronomy, the convention is to capitalise the Sun (and incidentally the Moon). That's to differentiate our Sun from other suns and our Moon from other moons.

When/ if we travel to other solar systems (that's another one!) or we get visited by aliens, we may find that the lowercase has to be dropped altogether. We can't refer to "the sun" when we have intimate knowledge of more than one sun.

Similarly, when we finally do make it to the cantina on Mos Eisley, we may find that the other races want to capitalise "human", in the same way that we capitalise French and German.

But until then ...