Do you capitalize pronouns when talking about deities?

By Leca
@lecanis (16664)
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
May 27, 2007 9:07am CST
I just realized while trying to type a response that I don't really bother to capitalize pronouns when talking about deities. As in, my Goddess and her plan for me" as opposed to "my Goddess and Her plan for me". I think most people do capitalize pronouns when talking about deities, but it just seems silly to me. Not only that, it's a lot of work when you spend half your time talking about Gods to do so. So what about you... do you capitalize pronouns when talking about your God/Goddess/Gods? Have you ever thought about why you do or don't? Do you really think your deity or deities care about things like that?
10 people like this
20 responses
• United States
27 May 07
The only time I capitalize pronouns when talking about dieties is when I'm writing a paper for school. Professors get pretty steamed if you don't. But I agree.... it's rather a pain, and I always miss a few. I don't think the Gods/Goddesses/Cosmic Energy/Whatever care that much about pronouns.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
27 May 07
Thanks for your response! I agree, I don't think they care.
2 people like this
• United States
6 Jul 12
This is six years ago but I'm going to pray to God for you.
• United States
6 Jul 12
This is six years ago but I'm going to pray to God for you.
@kamran12 (5555)
• Pakistan
28 May 07
I do, and following are my reasons, lecanis! 1. one of the factors that makes a language richer and more expressive is it's ability to distinctively define an object/entity/being with precision with the minimal use of words i.e without adding adjectives. English is relatively poor in this respect specially concerning pronouns as it has minimum of pronouns because of larger groupings and one can't ascertain precisely who it refers to. French is a little richer in this regard which has more pronouns and even more richer is Arabic or other older languages which have the ability to more precisely define the preceding noun. But no language offer any pronoun which can distinctively describe/precise a deity thus raising not only the problem you mentioned but also that of gender specification for deity in certain cases. So in order to precise (for myself), I capitalize pronoun for deity regardless (at least I try)of what deity I am talking about. 2. To differentiate two same set of pronouns, one for deity and other for anyone, I would capitalize the pronoun for deity to make things clear. for example, a deity asked kamran to write because 'HE' (she/it) wanted 'him' to clear the difference:-) 3. I use traditional "he" as pronoun to mention GOD while I do not support anthropomorphizing a deity, so to break the rule and mean something else than a male gender, I'll capitalize even if no other 'he' pronoun is used near by or anywhere in the whole text because whether I use 'he', 'she' or 'it' as pronoun for deity it doesn't solve my problem of first paragraph. 4. I also do it out of respect for deity/deities not only my own but of others also (I can say with confidence that I try my best) Do I think that my deity or any deity/deities care about it? NO. Do I care about it? Yes, not only because of above mentioned points but also because (you may or may not agree) we do many things in life for others just because WE want it not because the person for whom we are doing want/need it. For example your son may be indifferent to what color he wears, but you select a color that you like for him or that you think suits him or he looks good in. question of time/money/effort is pointless in case of priorities. These are MY reasons for MY usage of capitalized pronoun for a deity which, I understand, may or may not be valid for others. Every body has his/her choice and has a right to do so:-)
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
2 Jun 07
Thanks for describing and explaining this in such detail! You make some really good points about the reasons we do certain things. Thanks!
1 person likes this
@kamran12 (5555)
• Pakistan
2 Jun 07
You are welcome, lecanis. I am not sure if I was understandable, though. Because just now when I read my response I don't see it well verbalized. I just hope that you understood what I was trying to say, despite my expression errors.
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
27 May 07
Well I admit I have a tendency because it was ingrained into me from an early age to capitalize it when I'm discussing the Christian God, all other gods I was told do not have to be. Now I'm not saying that is right I'm just saying what I was taught in my English classes for years. Of course my first classes were in a Catholic Elementary School but the same rules were enforced when I went to the public. When you talk about the Christian/Judaic God you use the capital letter for God and for all pronouns. All other gods, like Zeus, are lower case for the pronouns. Now though I do it out of habit and I really do need to stop. Mostly I don't feel the need to put one form of diety above another. That they should all be equal which means I either have to capitalize them all or keep them all lower case.
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
2 Jun 07
I was taught the same thing at school, emeraldisle, and I went to a public school. I thought it was weird that such double standards exist. I pretty much do it the same for any God now, big G for God or Goddess, but small letters for him, her, his hers, etc.
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
3 Jun 07
I agree there shouldn't be a double standard or to set one religious diety above the other. That is one reason why I am trying to break the habit.
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@Galena (9123)
27 May 07
I do Goddess and God with capitals, even though it's more a job description than a name. deity has a little d. I do find it a bit irritating when people use capitals for the whole thing, which you seem to see a lot here. GOD, HIM, THE LORD. it makes it seem very agressive to me. makes me feel like the poster is trying to force beleif in other people, even if that might not be the case. I do tend to use Him and Her, purely because that's the closest I give them to a name. although I usually refer to them as the old girl and the old boy. it's an interesting point though.
2 people like this
• United States
28 May 07
I agree, the terms God or Goddess are job titles like Sergent, Major, Chief Executive Officer, etc., and NOT actual names, and as such the first letter should be capitalized but not the whole word. As for personal pronouns referring to such beings, I think the same rule should apply, the first letter should be capitalized, but not the whole word.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
2 Jun 07
I'm so sorry, I've been swamped this week! I love your response. I do capitalize God and Goddess, but not the he, she, his, hers, etc. That's more what I ws thinking about. I get really annoying about using capitals for the whole thing too. It's just jarring, and pointless. I like that, the old girl and the old boy! Nice.
1 person likes this
@Ravenladyj (22937)
• United States
27 May 07
I dont in fact I dont always cap the name(s) or titles for that matter....Ive never really considered "why" though....I really dont know...I do knwo that when I am talking about the Christian god though I DONT cap "god" even though it should be for proper grammer sake...I purposely DON'T however so that its known (usually when I'm arguing with a thickskulled person) that the Christian god ISNT important to me and I dont place him on some higher level if that makes any sense.....
2 people like this
@Ravenladyj (22937)
• United States
27 May 07
and ya know, now that I'm thinkin about it...I think another reason is because deities are "things" to me NOT ppl so to speak....I, as I've mentioned before, dont see any god or goddess outside myself as a seperate entity....they or rather their aspects reside within me so it just doesnt make sense to cap it I guess..sometimes I do when refering to a specific name though...like when I'm talkin about Kali Ma I cap it because it is a name...when I'm talkin aobut a random god or goddess or in a generalize way I dont..... I dunno....wierd
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
27 May 07
I find your concept of deity really interesting, Ravenladyj, probably because it is so different from my own. =) I do usually capitalize things like God and Goddess, just not all the hims and hers and junk like you're technically supposed to I guess. Bleh. So I would cap "the Christian God" but I would also cap "a Celtic God" or "an Egyptian God" or whatever. I guess I'm just weird and inconsistent actually I guess. =p
1 person likes this
@RosieS57 (889)
• United States
27 May 07
I usually don't. But sometimes I do. It depends on who I'm writing to. It also depends on how I'm moved. Dear Hubby and I were talking about sheep and people and sheeple, you know. Dear Hubby gets all caps. When he's not dear but still a dh he gets dh which stands for something else. I opined that if Goddess wanted her people to be sheep we'd be growing wool, going "Baaaa!" and eating grass. So if/when she wants capitals, she gets them. If not, not. My goddess/god both have lots of things going on. No harm either way and that's the MOST important thing. All caps sponsored by Goddess. :-)
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
2 Jun 07
I love that world, sheeple! =p Good response, thanks! That's an interesting point about Dear Hubby too!
@Woodpigeon (3710)
• Ireland
27 May 07
No, capitalizing pronouns when talking about deities is not a habit I got into. I don't write much about them, so I guess the subject doesn't have the opportunity to come up. Even when I write 'god' and it is in a context of a Christian god, I don't capitalize the word.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
27 May 07
Thanks for your response. I never say "God" and mean the Christian God... if I'm talking about that particular deity I would say "the Christian God". Come to think of it, I do capitalize God or Goddess usually, just not "him" or "her" or all those little words relating to them.
2 people like this
@jwfarrimond (4474)
27 May 07
Grammatically speaking you should. As for the second part of your discussion, let me ask a rhetorical question: If you were a deity, would you give a rat's a** about this?
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
27 May 07
I suppose I should. If I were writing a paper or an article, I probably would do so. I just think it's annoying to try to do all the time, and I really don't think it's that big a deal whether I do or I don't. You're right, it is a rhetorical question!
1 person likes this
• United States
28 May 07
I don't generally capitalize pronouns either. Proper diety names I usually will unless I perform one of them there over sights. The only time i'd capitalize a pronoun for god is if I am talking about the christian god. Even then it's unlikely. Zeus, Yahweh, Artemis, Mithras, and all the rest, these get a capital letter. The fact that christianity has been too lazy to use the true names of their diety for a few thousand years isn't a grammatical oversight. They began capitalizing the pronoun because of laziness and as a way to try and seperate from the hebrew roots. In my oppinion.
2 people like this
@danruto (32)
• Australia
28 May 07
I don't usually because really im just too lazy to do so, it takes too much effort to begin writing it to begin with, I don't really see why its so important
2 people like this
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
28 May 07
It depends on the forum and my mood and how serious the dicussion is. If I'm busy or in a hurry I often won't capitlize many things that should be. If however it is a formal settings in which I am writing, I will try to use the correct rules of capitaliztion. After all, I don't really think g-d will care either way.
2 people like this
• United States
28 May 07
I do capitalize pronouns and their names when I write about them. Espeacially the deities that are not mine. It is a matter of respect.
2 people like this
• United States
27 May 07
I usually do. I will admit if I am rushing I might not always but I do try. I am sure that God doesn't care but I feel He should be given that honor so to speak.
2 people like this
@g3n3j0rd (721)
• Philippines
28 May 07
Well, I do but only from God of the Bible. I capitalize the word God, Lord, Bible, Christ, Jesus and their pronouns because I give them importance and respect. I don't find it tedious at all. For other gods, I don't capitalized them because they are false gods which is an abomination to the Lord. I was thinking twice if I have to respond to this discussion but I thought I should let you know that there are those who capitalize this terms and don't get tired of doing so.
@Galena (9123)
28 May 07
don't you think that's a bit rude? to their followers these Gods are not false Gods, just as yours isn't false to you.
1 person likes this
@g3n3j0rd (721)
• Philippines
28 May 07
I know I shouldn't have responded. The God of creation Himself, had said, "I AM the Lord, your God. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image - any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God." If anyone disagrees with this, don't argue with me, go ahead and argue with God!
1 person likes this
@Galena (9123)
28 May 07
that's your religion. not mine. simple as that.
2 people like this
@angelicEmu (1311)
30 May 07
Not being of any organised religion, and definitely not subscribing to any monotheistic religion (who tend to be the ones hung up on being seen to show respect for their deities through superficial things like capitalising pronouns), no I don't. But then again, I don't try to define any deities or (as I think of the higher power in the Universe) the ebbs and flows, and the nature of things as they really are. I think that if (hypothetically) there were any self-aware deities who were pro-human, and were good in nature, they wouldn't care about humans knowing about them, or addressing or referring to them "properly", in fact all they'd want is for people to live well in harmony with nature, and be good for the sake of being good. People who spend a lot of time trying to impress their deities with the "correct" forms of language are generally (not always of course, but generally) compensating for their shortcomings in other areas, in my opinion!
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
2 Jun 07
Thanks for your response! Very thought-provoking! I really liked that last line, I think it's a very good point!
1 person likes this
3 Jun 07
Thank-you for your comments lecanis - and thank-you for another super post! All the best to you and your deities, capitalised or not :-)
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@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
3 Jun 07
All the best to you too! You're so sweet! =)
1 person likes this
• Philippines
31 May 07
Not all the time not unless I use pronouns to pertain to God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit. I dont capitalize pronouns when they refer to idols because they are not real gods. I believe that there is only one God. The Almighty who has manifested himself as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
1 person likes this
@Galena (9123)
2 Jun 07
my Gods are as real to me as yours is to you. I respect that your beleif means a lot to you, and will capitalise any deity, whether I beleive in them or not. it would be appropriate to show respect to the beleifs of others. my Gods are not Idols.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
2 Jun 07
My Gods certainly seem real enough to me, and everyone else throughout history who has worshipped them. I prefer to be respectful to the deities of others, not because I believe in them, but because that's they nice way to be.
1 person likes this
• Canada
20 Jul 07
I don't ever capitalize pronouns when talking about deities, but I also usually don't capitalize words like god/goddess/gods...I think that if I were typing a direct comment to the diety (as in "Goddess, guide me"), I would capitalize it. But if simply making a statement like "he said he did not believe in god" I probably wouldn't. I really doubt if they care about something like capitalization, I think that they've got more important things to worry about than whether you write Her or her.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
20 Jul 07
Haha, I definitely agree that they have more important things to worry about. Thanks for sharing your views here!
@scammerwear (1433)
• Singapore
30 May 07
I personally like to spell Lady Brighid with capitalization for a show of respect and spell gods.. well gods. (Yes, I'm back~!)
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
2 Jun 07
Hi, scammerwear! Yes, you're back, and I've been pretty much gone! lol My son's first birthday was this Wednesday, and I've had lots of health things going on this week, so I've been away. Thanks for responding!
• India
30 May 07
Very real point that you have brought out there, Lecanis. I myself had an experience that serves as an example. I'm a person who usually uses the capitals, as a show of reverence and respect. I was responding to a discussion on Hindu Gods by my friend Missak, and I really got tired of prefixing Lord or Goddess before the name of each and every deity that I was talking about in the discussion (and mind you, there are a great number of gods and goddesses in our religion!) and before long, I was just referring to the said deities by the names and not by their full salutations! Capitals are fine when you are occasionally talking about gods, but when the entire discussion is about gods, then it would be redundant and even difficult. Besides, the respect for the deities would quite clearly be apparent from the content of the post itself, what say?
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
2 Jun 07
*nods* That's kind of my reasoning. In longer discussions it can get very tiring to do all that capitalization and prefixing and junk. And you're very right about the respect being shown by content, not grammar! Very lovely point!
@djbtol (5498)
• United States
3 Jun 07
Yes, I do capitalize when I am talking about Almighty God in the Bible - God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit. The names themselves remind me that I am talking about true Diety and He is so much greater than I. Have a wonderful day, djbtol