When used as an adjective, can the word 'Antarctic' be spelled without a capital letter? I'm confused because 'Arctic' is always lower-cased when we use that as an adjective (e.g.: 'arctic fox', not 'Arctic fox').
closed as general reference by MετάEd, kiamlaluno, FumbleFingers, tchrist, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Aug 31 '12 at 14:04
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You should probably capitalize it, unless you don't.
According to Merriam Webster, whether you should capitalize "Antarctic" depends on context and individual style:
So make a decision and stick with it, at least within the same document. However, there's a "geographical name" version of the word that is capitalized:
The word "Arctic" has similar "rules".
Cambridge seems to indicate that the adjectival form of the word is always capitalized.
In general, you'd be safest capitalizing the word, but there are some specialized cases when you'd be okay not doing so. Personally, I'd capitalize it in all cases, to simplify the issue and to be more obviously consistent.
It seems that Arctic foxes are quite common compared with arctic foxes:
Similarly here for Arctic expeditions versus arctic expeditions:
And even moreso for Antarctic expeditions versus antarctic expeditions: