Should Earth Be Capitalized?

Is earth capitalized? And should you say earth or the earth? Knowing the answers to these questions is essential because it’s the name of our planet we’re discussing!

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 the word or not.

Earth is a proper noun or common noun. So, there are instances where you capitalize it and instances where you don’t. Capitalize the word Earth when talking about the actual planet we live on. But when you’re referring to the soil or the ground, you should lowercase the word and add the article the.

Examples of When to Capitalize Earth

English capitalizations rules state that you should always capitalize proper nouns. Here’s a quick capitalization breakdown on 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. 

Capitalized Earth in a Sentence

Scientists in Europe have for the first time recorded what may be one of the loudest animals on Earth for its size. [USA Today]

This means its light has taken an astonishing 12.9 billion years to reach us here on Earth. [BBC News]

An asteroid the size of a tour bus streaked harmlessly past Earth, passing within 12,230km. [The Southland Times]

And in the following examples, earth is correctly uncapitalized because it’s treated as a common noun (with the article the):

Shale gas is extracted from beneath the surface of the earth through a process called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” [CBC]

Greenhouse gas emissions in volume affect the earth’s climate. [Financial Times]

Because of science, we were able to grasp the age of the earth. [Boston Globe]

Lowercase Earth in a Sentence

Use the lowercase earth to refer to the ground, soil, and idioms like salt of the earth. This usage implies a non-specific term for an item, which is the ground. 

One common noun confusion is whether to use earth or the earth–for example:

The rocky earth felt cold on my feet. 

In the sentence of concern, the precedes the noun earth because it is a common noun. Therefore, it is inaccurate to write the Earth.

Trick to Remember When to Capitalize Earth

If you’re having difficulty answering, “is earth capitalized?” remember that dirt is smaller than the actual planet. So, use a small letter e for dirt and a big E for planet Earth and other planets. That way, you’ll quickly observe proper capitalization rules.

So, is Earth Capitalized?

Yes and no. One of the most common capitalization questions among English speakers is whether to capitalize earth or the earth. Use Earth 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!

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