Is Earth Capitalized? – Rules and List of Examples

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Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod is a highly qualified secondary English Language Arts Instructor who brings a diverse educational background to her classroom. With degrees in science, English, and literacy, she has worked to create cross-curricular materials to bridge learning gaps and help students focus on effective writing and speech techniques. Currently working as a dual credit technical writing instructor at a Career and Technical Education Center, her curriculum development surrounds student focus on effective communication for future career choices.

Using earth in a sentence can be confusing. Is earth capitalized in a sentence, or is it left lowercase? Actually, it depends.

Rather than leave yourself struggling to determine how earth should be written, take a look at our earth capitalization rules to help you get it right each and every time. This guide will show you when to capitalize the word “earth” and when to use lowercase. You’ll also learn whether to put the article “the” before it or not.

When Is Earth Capitalized?

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The word “earth” is a noun and can be used as a proper noun or a common noun. Common nouns are nouns that are used in everyday language to describe a group or category of something. Proper nouns are specific items, places, people, or things within those categories.

When Earth is used to describe the actual planet we live on, it is used as a proper noun. Also, notice that when it is used in such a manner, it is not preceded by an article.

Examples of When to Capitalize Earth in a Sentence

  • The Blue Whale is the largest animal on Earth.
  • It takes sunlight 8 ⅓ minutes to reach us here on Earth.
  • Falling stars are meteorites burning up in Earth’s atmosphere.
  • The history of Earth’s existence can be found in geological studies.
  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun.

When Is Earth Not Capitalized?

When “earth” is used as a common noun to describe the surface of the ground you stand on or the soil you can hold in your hands, then you should refer to it in the lowercase form. You also should add the article “the” in front of it.

Examples of When NOT to Capitalize Earth in a Sentence

  • I worked among the salt of the earth and recognized their pride in all their efforts.
  • The earth felt cold beneath my feet as I walked home in the early light.
  • She knelt and lifted the earth in her hands, letting it sift between her fingers.

How to Remember When to Capitalize Earth

If you’re having difficulty answering “is earth capitalized?”, remember that the ground you stand on is smaller than the actual planet. Therefore, use a small letter e for when earth relates to the ground you are standing on and a big E for the planet Earth you live on. That way, you’ll quickly observe proper capitalization rules.

English capitalization rules state that you should always capitalize proper nouns. Here’s a quick capitalization breakdown of the word earth.

  • Capitalize Earth as a celestial body along with other planet names.
  • Capitalize Earth when you’re writing a sci-fi piece.
  • Make earth lowercase if you’re referring to the ground beneath your soles.
  • Make earth lowercase when writing words like salt of the earth, down to earth, or hell on earth.

Let’s Review

To capitalize or not is a common question within the English language, particularly concerning words such as earth which can be categorized as both a common and proper noun depending on its use. Use “Earth” with the capital “E” if you’re referring to the specific planet and “earth” for the soil or surface of a stratum. You can also put “the” before the common noun “earth.”