Do You Capitalize The Word “Aunt”? Proper Capitalization


do you capitalize aunt

Regardless of the size of your family, most of us are lucky enough to have an aunt or more than one. When speaking, we don’t need to concern ourselves with how we address our aunts as long as we do it respectfully but, when writing, we do need to be aware of the proper capitalization of “aunt” as a word in a sentence.

The correct way to capitalize the word “aunt” is by considering the function of the word in the sentence. If we use it as a generic noun, “aunt” doesn’t need to be capitalized. However, if you use the word “aunt” next to someone’s name, then it should be capitalized because it becomes a proper noun.

In this article, we will aim to give you all the ins and outs to take into consideration when capitalizing this word and other similar words.

aunt and niece candid photography

Origin Of The Word “Aunt”

“Aunt,” like many other words, originates from both Latin and Modern French. In Modern French it derives from the word “tante”, which directly means a parent’s sister. In Latin, it derives from the word “amita” that translates to the paternal aunt, which is somehow redundant when placed together like this in English. “Amita” is also connected to the Greek word “Amma” which means mother.

So, the English language borrowed from all these words, and that is where the word “aunt” we use comes from. It is used to refer to the sister of our father or our mother.

We began to use the word “Aunt” in English around the 13th century, and the first record of that is the book by Robert Gloucester in 1297.

Why Is It Important To Know When To Capitalize “Aunt”?

The sister of our father or our mother is usually seen as a second mother. How we refer to this person, whether it is written or said verbally, we want to make sure to do so the appropriate way. That is why if you are writing a letter or email, and you are talking about your favorite aunt, is it a must to do it correctly.

If your aunt is a person who is old-school for writing matters, it is likely capitalization will matter and will not go unnoticed, and you might get an earful from her if you fail to capitalize her name when referring to her as your aunt.

Also, when we capitalize the word “aunt,” we will always do it at the beginning of a sentence, as we would for any other word that opens a sentence, and we will never capitalize the entire word. If you ever saw “AUNT” like this, it is probably an acronym and not connected to a family member.

How Do We Use “Aunt” In A Sentence?

To use “aunt” in a sentence is as simple as you would hope, following these simple grammar rules you will never be wrong:

  • Always capitalize “aunt” at the beginning of a sentence
  • Always capitalize “aunt” when combined with the person’s name
  • Never capitalize “aunt” if it is without the name of said aunt.

Here Are Some Example Sentences

  1. Aunt and I are going to the mall.
  2. My aunt is coming for a visit.
  3. I love my aunt!
  4. My aunt is homeschooling her kids.
  5. My aunt wants me to go to Harvard.
  6. My aunt, uncle and their kids came to visit.
  7. The aunt is the sister of one’s father or mother.
  8. There are several aunts to Cinderella; one her maternal aunt, and two her paternal aunts.
  9. Aunt Jane, I would like to be a principal dancer on the Vaudeville stage one day.
  10. She was known as Aunt Marie by her nieces.
  11. People called the old lady who taught the ABCs Aunty Alphabet.
  12. My aunt on my mother’s side was an accomplished pianist.
  13. Though it was a rainy day, many children danced and twirled in circles in Clare’s aunt’s yard.
  14. Her Aunt Debbie was adept in playing all kinds of games.
  15. The aunt who accepted me with open arms was my favorite. She always had time for me and gave me the best advice.
  16. My Aunt Angela was like my second mother. I remember all the summers I spent in her house, playing with my cousins and rollerblading in the streets of her neighborhood at night.
  17. We took a family vacation and Aunt Stacey was so nice to pay for everyone’s flight.
  18. My brother said he never wanted to have children, so now I will never get to be someone’s aunt.
  19. Aunt Leila stayed behind to babysit so her sister and husband could get a night off for themselves.
  20. My aunt was the smartest person I knew. She graduated college at age nineteen and had a PHD before age twenty five. I wish one day I could do half of what she did with her life. 

the best aunt sign blue letters on white

What About The Word “Uncle”?

Just like “aunt”, the word “uncle” that is its equal and antonym at the same time, by definition, originates from the French word “oncle” which means a parent’s brother. It also has a connection with an even less common and more ancient word “avunculus” which could be translated to my mother’s brother or “little grandfather”.

And just as “aunt”, it is a noun, and if we were to capitalize it would be done when used next to someone’s name as it becomes a proper noun. For example:

  • My Uncle Xavier will be coming home for Christmas this year. (Proper noun)
  • My uncle will be coming home for Christmas this year. (Generic noun)

The use is very straightforward, as seen in the first example, when next to the name, it will be capitalized. If it is used without a person’s name, then it will not be.

What Is A Political Aunt Or Political Uncle?

If the sister of our father is our aunt by blood, which is the standard concept for an aunt, then a political aunt is the wife of our uncle. In that same order, the husband of our aunt is our political uncle.

The term “political” comes from how two people are united by law when they enter a marriage contract and inherit each other’s families to some extent. Depending on the culture this “political aunt” or “political uncle” can mean a lot or close nothing.

In Hispanic and Latino communities closeness to family, political or otherwise is expected. In some cases the level of co-dependency and attachment is so much that a “political aunt” or “political uncle” are as important and as close as the blood relative to the family.

Also, when it comes to children and how they are raised, it is everyone’s job in these close knit communities to pitch in, and to show up. Political relatives are no exception to this tradition.

In addition to these political relatives there are also godparents, these can be related by blood or not. Many people prefer the godparents to be a close friend but in many instances aunts and uncles could also be asked to be a godparent. However, this is a custom more common in religious catholic families.

There is such a thing as a non-religious godparent, many young couples who are not as close to their families or that were previously orphans in foster care go for this tradition of non-religious godparents.

Basically, this type of godparent is like a glorified aunt or uncle, and if they are not related by blood to you, it can be an adult that has bonded with your child over time. Also, it can be a longtime friend that in a situation where you might be missing, due to an emergency or even death, like seen in movies, this person would take over the role of caregiver to your children. 

aunt letteting in white ando black

Other Ways To Say “Aunt”

There are many ways for us to use when referring to our aunt, the names will vary depending on the intention. For Example:

  • Aunty
  • Auntie
  • Nunky
  • Tata
  • Tita

These are more endearing ways and some of them are rooted in Spanish language, and here are some examples of them used in a sentence:

  • My Auntie Lucy came every weekend and took me out for ice cream, she will forever be my favorite.
  • Every time I visited my tita’s house she would buy me toys and cook for me.
  • We were all so sad when our tata passed away, she was everyone’s favorite aunt.

There are other ways to say “aunt” that are more formal and directly connected to the meaning of the word. For example:

  • Mother’s sister
  • Father’s sister
  • Uncle’s wife

Conclusion

Capitalization is helpful and necessary, it tells us when a noun is proper or not, also offers an understanding of when a sentence begins and when a sentence has ended. 

Whenever we mention someone’s name in a text, it has to be capitalized, also any other proper noun, like the names of cities, countries, religions. Remember, if you add the name of your aunt then it has to be capitalized but if you are just casually speaking and you are not mentioning the person’s name, then it should remain in lower case.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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