Capitol or capital?

My home in Austin, Texas, is just off “Capital of Texas Highway.” Shouldn’t it be “Capitol of Texas Highway”? No, “capital” is correct since it refers to Austin as the capital city. The version with the “o” is correct only when referring to the building that Congress or a legislative body meets in. Here’s a hint to help you remember: Many capitol buildings, such as the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC, have a dome. Remember the “o” in dome matches the “o” in capitol. All other uses of capital (the city, money, capital letters, and the ornamental top of a structural column) are spelled with an “a.”

Want to learn more? Consider my two writing seminars: Business Writing in Plain English and Goof-Proof Grammar.

Read all entries in The Written Word
Posted Thursday, March 06, 2008