View Full Version : Grammar Question...

08-19-2004, 01:04 AM
I did not know where to post this so I picked this board. If it is the wrong one, then I apologize.

When I was in school I was taught that if you are addressing mom and dad then you capitalize them. Such as:

When Dad said it was time to go we said no. - OR - Nobody would listen to Mom.

But if you make them another part of someone else then you don't capitalize them. Such as:

When Lisa's mom went to the store, she bought candy. - OR - They all went with Jason's dad.

Is this right? I would hate to think I have been out of school so long I don't remember correctly.:cry


Andrew Spriggs
08-19-2004, 01:14 AM
Yes. The reason is, when you simply use 'Mom' or 'Dad', that becomes their name, and their name would be capitalized. However, when you say something like 'Jason's dad' or whatever, then dad merely becomes a possession of Jason (it sounds cruel but it's not).

08-19-2004, 04:10 AM
Adding more to the correct answer you've already received-- it's lower-case mom or dad even when using 'your,' 'our,' or 'my.' So it's not just when the parent (or other relative) belongs to someone else.

There's Dad. I see Mom, too!
There's our dad. I see our mom, too!
There's my dad. I see my mom, too!
There's your dad. I see your mom, too!
There's Jerry's dad. I see Jerry's mom, too!

Hope this clarifies even more.


Lori Basiewicz
08-19-2004, 04:58 AM
Basically, if you are using it as a name substitution, capitalize, but if you are using it as a category or description, then don't.

08-20-2004, 01:15 AM
Mom is a proper noun
mom is a common noun

if you wouldn't capitalize 'table' you don't capitalize 'mom'...

like someone above said, when used as the person's name, then 'Mom' is a proper noun... right?

here's an excellent online grammar guide:

andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/index.html (http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/index.html)

08-20-2004, 02:09 AM
<blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Basically, if you are using it as a name substitution, capitalize, but if you are using it as a category or description, then don't.<hr></blockquote>

What if you're addressing someone in the military, either with or without titles? Would it be:

"I've repaired the truck, sir." or "I've repaired the truck, Sir."
"I've repaired the truck, lieutenant." or "I've repaired the truck, Lieutenant."

08-20-2004, 02:46 AM
"Yes, sir," the sergeant said. "I gave Sir Reginald the papers, just as Lieutenant Banks ordered."

Captain Neville nodded. "Very good, Staff Sergeant. Dismissed."

Neville watched Sergeant Roberts walk from his office, shaking her head. She turned to Colonel Smith who lounged by the water cooler. "Sooner or later, sir, General Wilson will notice something's amiss."

The colonel merely grunted.


That help?

Terra Aeterna
08-20-2004, 03:39 AM
Lovely. I angsted quite a bit over how that works, thanks for clarifying.

08-20-2004, 06:39 AM
yes, thank you very much. great example!

08-20-2004, 11:22 PM
where've ya been?... haven't seen you around much lately...

love and hugs, maia

spikey edjog
08-24-2004, 03:50 AM
Thanks a lot for this.

I never would have even considered this, and tend to always capitalise Mom or Dad.

You learn something new every day!

<"&quot;) :clap

08-24-2004, 04:03 AM
bin riting, uv coarse! whut else? Gotta novel to finish...er, fix.

08-24-2004, 02:29 PM
Since there's no "grammar" board here, yet...

What's the difference between:

I forgot the past.


I forgot about the past.

08-24-2004, 03:30 PM
Is this a rhetorical/trick question, maestro?

They seem equivalent to me. While the second is possibly more common in speech, the first is tidier and snappier.

Now you've forced me to think 'about' it, while 'about' can mean 'concerning' or 'in regards to-', it also commonly carries the connotation of physical space, so associating it with an abstraction like 'the past' seems a clumsy construction.

Euan Harvey
08-24-2004, 05:58 PM
(A)>I forgot the past.

(B)>I forgot about the past.

A is a direct object, meaning it's directly affected by the action. B is a prepositional object, which usually means it is not so directly affected by the action.

The top one means that the speaker can no longer remember the past. The bottom one could mean the same thing, or it could mean that the speaker has forgotten the relevance of the past.

Think of it if you took:

I forgot the key

I forgot about the key

And that makes the difference a bit clearer. In the first one, the key is directly affected, in the second, less so.

Can't type any more. I have a baby on my knee who needs to go to sleep.



James D Macdonald
08-24-2004, 06:11 PM
"I forgot about the past" or "I forgot about the key" mean that something just came along that took a higher priority than the past or the key.

"Get off the case, shamus."

It was Roscoe, and he had a .44 caliber roscoe in his hand, pointed at me. I forgot about the key.

08-25-2004, 01:52 PM
I think "forget the key" and "forget about the key" are quite straight forward. What's confusing is something like:

"Come home for the holidays? Forget it!"
"Come home for the holidays? Forget about it!"

Euan Harvey
08-25-2004, 05:19 PM
>"Come home for the holidays? Forget about it!"

Do you mean 'forget about it!' or 'fugeddaboudit!'? Because they're quite different, y'know. |I



08-25-2004, 05:55 PM
Here's my guess, Maestro:

Whatever the "past" is, that memory is gone, wiped from the board. If the past is a love affair, the knowledge of that love is gone or ignored on purpose.
"Jenny? My God did I really date her?"

Whatever the "past" is, that memory is still there, just not thought about in a long time. If the past is a love affair, the knowledge of that love is still there, but has been ignored by accident.
"Jenny! My God I haven't thought about her in years."

Am I warm, cold, completely off??

Owen Platt
08-26-2004, 07:12 PM
Better than having grammar board to post your questions on, buy Fowler's Common English Usage and Strunk and White on The Elements of Style. All the answers are there.

Euan Harvey
08-27-2004, 05:33 AM
Not to Maestrowork's question, they're not.

[Granted, it may not have been a real question, but ... ]

08-27-2004, 05:40 AM
Oh, fudgeaboutdit!