Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A completely random question

Help me settle an argument.

In a fiction book, when someone says "oh my god" or "for god's sake," do you capitalize the word "god"?

So would it be:

"Oh my God, this blog is just so awesome, I can't even believe it."

or would it be:

"Oh my god, I just wasted an hour reading this blog, and for god's sake, where are all the cartoons?"

32 comments:

  1. Definitely capitalize.

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  2. In text form, capitalize. In cartoons, lower case might be appropriate.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. WHY WOULD ANYONE REMOVE DR. GRUMPY'S COMMENT?

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  4. I think that capitalizing god would make it apparent that it's taking the 'name in vain'. If it remains undercase, it means only the common exclamation and not something related to whether or not you worship.

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  5. Kate took the words right out of my mouth. I think it would depend upon the context. If the exclamation is used in the context of something horrific, unimaginable, or intuitive of something of God ie: a blessing/miracle, "Oh my God" would be appropriate. If it is in the context of some everyday common exclamation, then god should be lower cased. Just my opinion.

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  6. Seems to me that it depends on which god you are talking about. Common usage indicates God, the god of Christianity, but who's to say you're not talking about Pan, or Vishnu, or Thor? In the latter case I don't believe it needs capitalizing- only if one is talking specifically about God does it need it.

    So, ultimately, I think it depends on the writer's preference.

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  7. If you don't capitalize it, it seems like we're back in the ancient Greek civilization where everyone worships many gods.

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  8. Pork you Grumpy. Go back to watching MSMBC.

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  9. The context is the two quotes above. If you saw one of those quotes in a fiction book you were reading, which one would be correct?

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    1. The second one, simply because I agree with the distinctions made above about recognizing the reference 'God' in our exclamations, versus the common vernacular.

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    1. I never understood the reason for having to put the dash in the English word God, when there are 72 commonly accepted Hebrew names for God and the English word G-O-D is not one of them. Neither is Jehovah. I mean it is due to being respectful for the written word of the name of God and it usually means don't throw away old bibles and prayer books.

      The stoning the blasphemer seen in The Life of Brian is mandatory viewing at this point. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_hlMK7tCks

      Q: How can you tell you are in an Atheist Bookstore…
      A: The Bible is in the Fiction section.

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  11. I don't think the Flying Spaghetti Monster is offended either way.

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    1. And I think you should stop ridiculing others beliefs, and realize that your own beliefs might be equally ridiculous.

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  12. The word god isn't the name of the christian god, any more than it is the name of any of the norse gods. It's a job description. I capitalize it when it's the first word in a sentence, and that's it. Besides, statistically we're all athiests. Even the christians only believe in one god of the hundreds of thousands that have been worshiped. If I'm 100 percent athiest, and you're 99.99999% athiest, what's the difference and why should we abuse grammar to make a distinctions.

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    1. Can't tell if you're just making a joke or you really don't know what atheist means (or how to spell it).

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  13. I'm not really seeing any definitive evidence here either way....

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  14. "Oh my god", because it could refer to whichever god you follow. Not just the Christian god (ie. God).

    but "for God's sake", as in the context of the phrase you can only be referring to a singular god, and therefore the god that's named God. If it was about a god other than God, it would have to be "for my God's sake" or something else.

    Good god, that was confusing.

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  15. Per the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition (8.98): "Names of deities, whether in monotheistic or polytheistic religions, are capitalized." Examples include Allah, Yahweh, and, yes, God.

    It's also worth noting that CMOS "urges a spare, 'down' style in the field of religion as elsewhere" (8.97) -- which is to say that they don't capitalize things unnecessarily, and they deem references to God necessary for capitalization. (Please forgive that terribly convoluted sentence. I'm not operating on much sleep this morning.)

    For what it's worth, the AP Stylebook mostly concurs -- "Capitalize 'God' in reference to the deity of all monotheistic religions. Capitalize all noun references to the deity... Lowercase 'gods' and 'goddesses' in references to the deities of polytheistic religions." The NYTimes Manual of Style and Usage gets into the nitty-gritty, capitalizing "God," "Allah," etc., but not "he," "his," "goddamn it"... The NYTimes manual also distinguishes between compounds formed with "god" (one word; godchild, godless) and those formed with "God" (hyphenated; God-fearing, God-given).

    tl;dr: Yes, "God" should be capitalized.

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    1. ^^^^^^^ This, people. There are places that document rules for this kind of thing.

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  16. Regardless of your religion or lack therof, God is a proper noun therefore, it must be capitalized. If plural then the lowercase spelling is correct. So....what catriona said.

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    1. It's sometimes a proper noun, but I don't think it always is. Like, if you could substitute "ugh" for "god," then I don't think it qualifies as a proper noun, unless the speaker is actually speaking to God.

      Example:
      "I mean, ugh/god, how can she expect me to get coffee in five minutes if the line is ten minutes long?!"

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    2. Nope, that is incorrect per style guidelines.

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    3. (I was replying that Andrea is incorrect - PA Honeybee is correct)

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  17. I always thought it depended on the speaking character's intent. If the character is atheist or agnostic then it's lowercase, unless they're talking about someone else's deity. For example, "What if God did exist, and he made a new commandment for everyone to eat rice on Tuesday?" Regardless of religion, if the character is just saying the casual "oh my god" or "god, what a busy day" then it's lowercase. If the character is religious in any way and they are referring to their deity with the word "God", it should be capitalized.

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  18. Capitalized, but I don't have strong feelings about it one way or the other. Lowercase seems more conversational, uppercase more formal, but really, either way.

    "G-d" fun fact: it's written with the dash to prevent ever having to throw away God's name. Doing it electronically is somewhat controversial, as you're never going to toss a website in the dustbin.

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    1. But the English word "God" is not one of the 72 Hebrew names of Hashem. People who write H-Shm" are just trying to annoy me.

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  19. Like anything else, when used as a proper noun, it should be capitalised. When used as a regular noun, it should not be capitalised (unless it's at the start of a sentence or something).

    So:
    "oh my god"
    "for God's sake"

    The same thing applies to other words that can be used as either regular nouns or proper nouns. For example, "dad":

    "Hi Dad"
    "My dad is great"

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