When Should I Capitalize "Constitution"?

It depends on whether it's a proper noun.

Mignon Fogarty,
February 28, 2012

When Should I Capitalize

Patrick C. asked,"When discussing a Constitutional Amendment, is it instead a 'constitutional amendment'?"

"Constitutional" is lowercase because it is an adjective, but sometimes "constitution" should be capitalized.

When you're using "constitution" descriptively, it's also lowercase:

  • The chess club needed a new constitution.

  • We should look that up in our constitution.

In the U.S., when you're referring to the specific founding document we refer to as the Constitution, it is capitalized:

  • George Washington's name is the first signature on the Constitution.

  • We can't wait to see the original Constitution when we visit the National Archives.

To directly answer Patrick's question, he should write that something is a "constitutional amendment"—lowercase.

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