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When to use Universe or universe?

I'm editing a document where it is "The Creator of the universe". Is it correct?

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"Universe" is not, by itself, a proper noun. So strictly speaking, "universe" is correct.

However, in literature, it's common enough to capitalize things if they are "special" enough.

For example, perhaps you have a story that features a legendary book. Consider the following passage:

"He has read the Book", said the man. You could hear the capital "B". The crowd gasped.

Clearly "book" is not a proper noun, but given the right context anything can be a proper noun.

Maybe, in your case, if you are considering a multiverse, there may be a special universe... The Universe. If you're just speaking about universes, or our universe, in general, then use the lowercase form.

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  • If you are not considering a multiverse, then there is only one universe - which makes it even more special and worth calling The Universe. Jun 18 '15 at 21:20
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I am not sure why mfoy's excellent answer made in the English Language & Usage is not showing up as an answer in the Writers SE. I agree with him or her that in general the noun "universe" is a common noun rather than a proper noun and so does not take a capital letter.

I think that the reason that the capitalisation does look slightly odd in the phrase you quote, "The Creator of the universe", is that in this context "Creator" is given a capital letter because it refers to God. Not everyone agrees with the traditional convention that pronouns and other words referring to God should take an initial capital letter, but these "reverential capitals" are still quite often seen. Anyway the presence of the capital letter for "Creator" kind of sets up an expectation of a capital letter for "universe" as well, even though technically I think that would be wrong.

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