Grammar

Should You Capitalize God Pronouns?

When using God pronouns like ‘he,’ ‘him’ or ‘his’ — or other versions — should you capitalize them as well? The answer may depend on whom you ask.

People use God pronouns when writing about deities so that they don’t have to use the name every time. That’s the same reason we use pronouns when writing about everyone else.

But while some people have little trouble discerning whether they should write God or god, there’s less consistency when it comes to using pronouns for the particular god in question.

As a general rule, most sources will say that you capitalize God when you’re referring to the god of a “monotheistic” religion. Christianity, which has a single God (who is made up in three forms), would dictate that the name be capitalized.

Greek or Roman gods, on the other hand, are part of a “polytheistic” religion, and some sources say you shouldn’t capitalize god or gods when referring to these beings.

God pronouns are a different story

Some argue that if you’re going to capitalize God, you should capitalize all references to God. That means you’d capitalize the He, Him and His and any other pronouns that specifically relate to God.

The Associated Press Stylebook, however, suggests that while you should capitalize God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, you should not capitalize the pronouns themselves.

For religious people, capitalizing God pronouns is a sign of reverence.

For grammar enthusiasts, even those who believe in God, it’s a violation of basic grammar rules. We don’t capitalize pronouns for anyone else, so why, then, should we capitalize pronouns that just happen to refer to Him?

Pastor Jesse Johnson recommends against the capitalized pronouns, which is not the answer I’d have expected from a pastor. He points out that the Hebrew language had no capitals, so Moses did not use capital letters.

“God is not glorified more through capital letters, and pronouns were never meant to bear such weight,” Johnson says. “Instead, write with clarity and exalt God in your heart rather than in your He and His.”

The correct answer depends on your style guide.

It’s important that bloggers develop their own style guide to help them keep track of such rules and then be consistent with them.

A style guide codifies what your writing policies are then serves as a reference point when you forget what an individual rule might be.

I mostly rely on AP Style here, but I do tend to capitalize God pronouns despite their guidance against doing so.

After reading Johnson’s take, I may rethink that. But here on this blog, that’s a decision I get to make.

And for now, I’ll stick with capitalization.

How do you feel about God pronouns? Should they be capitalized?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.