Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

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

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.
Be aware there is a ruling that states that you can use capital letters for the seasons when they are personified (i.e., when they are given human traits). This is not a common convention, but it's quaint.

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 considered common nouns not proper nouns.

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. (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! (Percy Bysshe)
Top Tip

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.
  • I met her at the Summer Solstice.
  • There were some incredible masks at the Rhine Winter Ball.
Note

Personification of 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 ought to 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, as personification occurs when a thing is personified (not a person is "thingified"), we judge this ruling 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 other forms of writing (e.g., poetry), there is far more leniency on the rules for capitalization.