Capital Letters with the Seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn (Fall), and Winter)

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The seasons are not written with capital letters unless they form part of a name. For example:
  • I am leaving in the winter.
  • I live near Winter Mountain River.
Be aware there is a ruling which states that you should use capital letters for the names of the seasons when they are personified (i.e., when they are given human traits). This is not a common convention, but it's quaint.

Capital Letters and the Seasons

The four seasons (spring, summer, autumn () / fall (), and winter) are not written with capital letters.

The names of the seasons are considered common nouns not proper nouns.

Examples:
  • Where are you going this spring?
  • This is the second time I have been skiing this Winter.
  • Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. (Victor Hugo)
  • There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been! (Percy Bysshe)
WHEN A SEASON NAME FORMS PART OF A PROPER NOUN

If a season name forms part of a name (i.e., a proper noun), then give it a capital letter. In the examples below, the proper nouns are in bold.
  • I met her at the Summer Solstice.
  • There were some incredible masks at the Rhine Winter Ball.
PERSONIFICATION OF THE SEASON NAMES

Be aware that there is a ruling which states that if a season is given a human trait (i.e., personified), then it ought to be given a capital letter. For example:
  • He was touched by Winter's icy breath.
  • (In this example, winter has been given a human trait.)
  • The leaves had been subjected to Autumn's touch.
This is not a common convention. It has its roots in the idea that the season name becomes the person's name (i.e., a proper noun). However, as personification occurs when a thing is personified (not a person is "thingified"), we judge this ruling to be unaligned with conventional grammar. That said, if you are personifying a season, there's a fair chance you're not compiling a business document. In other forms of writing (e.g., poetry), there is far more leniency on the rules for capitalization.


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