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When Should I Capitalize "Constitution"?

It depends on whether it's a proper noun.

By
Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read

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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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.