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Anonymous:
Hi!
For instance, if a student replies to a teacher in this way
"Sir, student thinks the solution is this..." Should the 's' in student be capital or not?

What about these ones?
"You did well, son."

"Yes, student Sam, your answer is correct."

Should the 's' in each of the above be capital or not?

"Hello, mum/father/cousin/neighbour, etc...!"

If not, is there then any case in which the letter should be capital? Is there some general rule to follow? Thanks!
Hi,

"Sir, student (..) thinks the solution is this..."
In this case, 'student' shouldn't have a capital 's'. Unless the student is a diety or divine being, which I doubt :-)

"You did well, son."
The 'son' could require a capital 's' if it refers to a divine being, which could be Jesus, the Son of God.

"Yes, student Sam, your answer is correct."
This sentence is fine. Sam should have a capital 's' because it's a name of a person.

Vince
Full Member157
You should use a capital letter only if a word is a proper part of someone's name or title. If the word is just used descriptively (to say what sort of person you're talking about) then you should not use a capital.

Relationships like "mum", "son" and "neighbour" are (almost) never used as titles, so almost never need capitalising (except, obviously, if at the start of a sentence). "Father", "mother", "sister" and "brother" generally do not need capitalising, though in a religious context they can be used as titles, in which case they are capitalised.

Some job descriptions/occupations, such as "doctor" and "president" are commonly used as titles and are capitalised in that sense. Others, such as "student" and "teacher" are almost never used as titles and almost never need to be capitalised.

Examples:

"He's our family doctor." (descriptive)

"This is Doctor Smith." (title)

"Have you met my father?" (descriptive)

"Our local priest is Father O'Brien." (title)

"He was voted in as president of the golf club." (descriptive; sometimes you will see people capitalise words like "president" in this sort of use, but to me it's unnecessary)

"Barack Obama is President of the United States of America." (title)
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Please note that it's quite uncommon for us to say "Student Sam" or "Teacher Dave." We don't use titles that way.
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Anonymous:
Hi,
Thanks for replying. I have some questions.

@ Mr W.
"Relationships like "mum", "son" and "neighbour" are (almost) never used as titles, so almost never need capitalising (except, obviously, if at the start of a sentence). "Father", "mother", "sister" and "brother" generally do not need capitalising, though in a religious context they can be used as titles, in which case they are capitalised."
I have seen some words such as 'father' or 'mum' capitalised in some texts (mostly novels - with no religious context), could they be ungrammatical or ...?

@G G
Yes, it's very uncommon, that's also why I'm not sure about this. And here you are using capital letters while the two posters above aren't, do you disagree with their suggestions? I'm not sure who's right and who's wrong . Also, for instance, couldn't there be a (non-religious) situation in which the word 'student' in the sentence "Yes, student Sam..." was used as a title?
AnonymousMr W. "Relationships like "mum", "son" and "neighbour" are (almost) never used as titles, so almost never need capitalising (except, obviously, if at the start of a sentence). "Father", "mother", "sister" and "brother" generally do not need capitalising, though in a religious context they can be used as titles, in which case they are capitalised." I have seen some words such as 'father' or 'mum' capitalised in some texts (mostly novels - with no religious context), could they be ungrammatical or ...?

When you're directly addressing someone as "mum" or "dad" (as in "Hi Mum!"), the word can be considered a title, and so can be capitalised. Other words, such as "father", "son" and "neighbour" can, with varying degrees of likelihood, also be used in this way. For some reason I wasn't thinking of this sort of usage when I wrote my reply, so I think my reply was rather misleading in this respect.

In other contexts, such as "I went with my mum", you may see some people capitalising "mum" (and similar words), but this is in my opinion unnecessary.
AnonymousAlso, for instance, couldn't there be a (non-religious) situation in which the word 'student' in the sentence "Yes, student Sam..." was used as a title?

A sentence starting "Yes, student Sam..." is pretty unusual with or without capitalisation. The word "student" isn't often used in this way. With a capital, "Yes, Student Sam..." gives the impression that "Student" is an official title. It may be possible in some special situation, but it's very unlikely in the usual sense of a school or college student.
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I agree with everything Mr. Wordy said above.

"I'll have to ask Mom" versus "I'll have to ask my mom." In the first, I call her Mom. In the second, it's a common noun.

In a class, the teacher calls the student either "Sam" or "Mr. Jones." A teacher would not say "Yes, Student Sam (with or without the capital), that answer is correct."
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Anonymous:
Hi, yes, I see your point that it would almost never be used like that.

Okay, let's take another example. What about this one:
'Yes, Admiral Sam...' In this case, the person's title is 'Admiral'. So couldn't it be this way with 'student' or any other word (noun) like driver, chef, officer etc - that they're used as a title?
AnonymousWhat about this one: 'Yes, Admiral Sam...' In this case, the person's title is 'Admiral'. So couldn't it be this way with 'student' or any other word (noun) like driver, chef, officer etc - that they're used as a title?
Well, you would normally follow "Admiral" with a person's surname (or first name + surname), not just their first name, but otherwise, yes, that example's OK.

In theory, virtually any job description or occupation could be considered a title and could therefore be capitalised. However, the likelihood varies with different descriptions/occupations, from, say, "We spoke to plumber John Jones", where I would never capitalise "plumber" to, say, "We spoke to Doctor John Jones" where I would always capitalise "doctor".
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