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

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
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.
seasons and capital letters

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 common nouns (the words we use for things, e.g., boy, dog, bridge) not proper nouns (the names we give to things, e.g., Peter, Rover, The Golden Gate Bridge). This is why the seasons are not given capital letters.

Examples of Lowercase and Capital Letters and the Seasons

Below are some examples of the seasons being used in sentences.
  • Where are you going this spring?
  • This is the second time I have been skiing this Winter.
  • (In this example, the word "Winter" does not form part of a proper noun. Therefore, it should be written with a lowercase letter.)
  • Let's visit the Winter Palace.
  • (In this example, the word "Winter" does form part of a proper noun. Therefore, it is correctly written with capital letter.)
  • Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. (French poet 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! (English poet Percy Bysshe)

When a Season Name Forms 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.
  • There were some incredible masks at the Rhine Winter Ball.
  • Each solstice is a domain of experience unto itself. At the Summer Solstice, all is green and growing, potential coming into being, the miracle of manifestation painted large on the canvas of awareness. At the Winter Solstice, the wind is cold, trees are bare and all lies in stillness beneath blankets of snow. (Author Gary Zukav)

Personification of the Season Names

Be aware that there is a ruling that states that if a season is given a human trait (i.e., personified), then it can 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, we judge this style 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 verse (e.g., songs, poetry), there is far more leniency on the rules for capitalization.
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

Capital letters in advertisements Capital letters and the points of the compass Capital letters with moons, stars and planets Using capital letters with proper and common nouns Capital letters start sentences What is title case? Test on using capital letters