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Thread: Capitalize Heaven and Hell?

  1. #1
    Untold stories inside Ralyks's Avatar
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    Capitalize Heaven and Hell?

    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.

  2. #2
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    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.

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  3. #3
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    heaven

    Quote Originally Posted by skylarburris
    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.

  4. #4
    Altogether Ookie MarkN's Avatar
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    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...
    MarkN
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  5. #5
    House Dragon Anya Smith's Avatar
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    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.


  6. #6
    Five by Five SuperModerator katiemac's Avatar
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    I'd say it's your choice. Just be consistent.

  7. #7
    Fig of authority
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anya Smith
    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."

  8. #8
    House Dragon Anya Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reph
    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.


  9. #9
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reph
    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.

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  10. #10
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anya Smith
    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.

    I didn't want to work. It was as simple as that. I distrusted work, disliked it. I thought it was a very bad thing that the human race had unfortunately invented for itself.
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  11. #11
    Comic guy Bartholomew's Avatar
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    Its all a matter of style.

  12. #12
    The Peacock Next Door Cat Scratch's Avatar
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    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.

  13. #13
    House Dragon Anya Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maestrowork
    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.


  14. #14
    Fig of authority
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anya Smith
    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.

  15. #15
    House Dragon Anya Smith's Avatar
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    Well, I'm going to capitalize us even if it's not correct. I think Humans are capital.


  16. #16
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    human

    Quote Originally Posted by Anya Smith
    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."

  17. #17
    House Dragon Anya Smith's Avatar
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    human

    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.


  18. #18
    Wibbly-Wobbly. Timey-Wimey.
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    It WOULD actually be kind of neat to have aliens who went around referring to humans as "You! Homosapiens!"

  19. #19
    Always a writer Daughter of Faulkner's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Be consistent

    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!

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  20. #20
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    Usage

    Quote Originally Posted by Anya Smith
    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.

  21. #21
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    humans

    Quote Originally Posted by A. J. Luxton
    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.

  22. #22
    The Deadliest Bunny Jenan Mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat Scratch
    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.



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  23. #23
    Freddie Mercury Devotee lauram's Avatar
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    But if we were from the land of Hum, we'd be Humans right?
    My blog about life with my daughters, who both have autism: http://www.autismallaround.blogspot.com/
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  24. #24
    The Deadliest Bunny Jenan Mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A. J. Luxton
    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.



    The bones tell me...nothing.

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  25. #25
    SeanDSchaffer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie
    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')

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