There are always questions about grammar and capitalization when it comes to God. Common questions are “when is God capitalized” and should “godly” be capitalized”?
We’ve reviewed the literature and official recommendations for writing the name of God. Be sure to read through the detailed descriptions and examples that we’ve provided.
In case you’re in a hurry here are the quick answers:
- God is always capitalized when referring to a single God, Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah.
- Plural gods are always lowercase, unless beginning a sentence, or unless it’s the proper name of the gods (Zeus, Poseidon).
- Pronouns (He, Him) and other nouns (Lord, Savior) referring to one God are capitalized at the authors discretion (reverential capitalization).
- In prayer, God will always be capitalized.
- When used in vain (Oh my God), God is still capitalized.
- Jewish spelling of G-d rather than spelling the name is out of respect and more specific to writing the name in Hebrew language
- Godly, godliness, godless, and godmother are not capitalized.
When is God capitalized (a single God, a single creator)
In monotheistic religions (religions that have only one God), God will always be capitalized (also read: When Is Bible Capitalized).
- Our creator, God, will bless our community.
- We would like to thank God for our success.
Do You Capitalize God when used as a pronoun or other noun: Him, He, Lord, Savior
Reverential capitalization (Chicago Manual of Style 8.95) occurs when an author or text reveres a subject and capitalized the pronoun that refers to the subject. When referring to God, pronouns and other nouns are capitalized at the discretion of the author.
In most faith-based literature you’ll find that nouns and pronouns are almost always capitalized. This is out of respect for God.
- Let us thank Him for this food.
- Our Lord and Savior.
In prayer, is God capitalized
Whether it be in the heading of the prayer or in the prayer itself, God will always be capitalized. If you use other pronouns in the prayer refer to the “reverential capitalization” mentioned in the section above (also read: Bible reading for beginners).
- Dear God, thank you for your help
Is “Gods” capitalized when it is used plurally
If God is used plurally, then it is not capitalized. Plurally, gods usually refer to the pagan gods, such as the Greek gods.
Any reference to a group of gods and it will not be capitalized. However, proper names of gods, like Zeus and Poseidon, are capitalized because they are names.
Is God is capitalized when it begins a sentence
You likely know that all sentences begin with a capital letter. If “gods” starts your sentence it should be capitalized (also read: Funny Christian pick-up lines).
- Gods are an important part of Greek history.
- The gods are an important part of Greek history.
Is God is capitalized in the phrase “Oh my God”
The phrase “oh my God” has become more and more common over the years. When you use the name of God in vain, it is also capitalized.
After all, you’re still referring to the one God.
- Oh my God, I can’t believe you did that!
Why do Jews refer to God as “G-D”
Referring to God as G-d is a recent occurrence in the United States. The purpose is to respect the name of God and avoid writing it (the name is sacred and if it’s not written it cannot be destructed by man later).
Over the years, questions have related to the writing in Hebrew and whether God’s name should ever be written. Some circles find it permissible, not matter the form, while others (Jewish legal opinion) believe it shouldn’t be written in Hebrew.
This still leaves it permissible in English and through typed word, although some people prefer not to write the name of God.
Is Godly Capitalized
Words that begin with God, such as godly, godmother, godless, godliness, godsend, and goddaughter are not capitalized in the English language (see Merriam Webster). These are descriptive words and not direct words for God.
In my opinion, these words do not qualify for reverential capitalization because they aren’t directly describing God.
- That man’s assistance was a godsend yesterday.
- Those are hardworking, but godless people.
God is an important part of Western society. The name is used every day in literature, prayer, and even pop culture.
Few people, however, know when it’s the right time to capitalize the God and when it shouldn’t be capitalized.
Throughout this article, there are detailed explanations for when God is capitalized. Should “gods” be capitalized? Should “godly” be capitalized? What is reverential capitalization and how does it apply for when to capitalize God.
Now you’re aware of when to capitalize God. Next time you write about God you’ll be grammatically correct.