Should I capitalize the word independence when it is not used as a holiday? As in the following statement:

In the wake of Independence in 1923, colonial administrators left the country.

  • There is a discussion about the capitalisation of common nouns when the referent is viewed in some unique / special way in the Capitalisation of “Nature” thread. Here, I'd say you have a free choice, with slightly different emphasis being available in the two variants. Look at the second and third articles here (though the fact that they are part-titles doesn't help analysis). Aug 19, 2016 at 11:32
  • I'd say, ask yourself the question: is this independence just a fact or is it celebrated in any way in this country, does it refer to a specific date or period, has it been personalized by a some famous painting, movie or statue. If yes to any of this, then you may want to consider using a capital letter. In your example, the fact that independence is used as unique independent noun within the sentence (as opposed to , for example "the independence of this country" or " the war for independence" ) seems to indicate that it is a special, unique occasion as mentionned above. I'd use a capital.
    – P. O.
    Aug 19, 2016 at 14:58

2 Answers 2


My take would be that the Turkish War of Independence (which I'm guessing is what you're referring to because of the year, but it doesn't really matter if not), is capitalised, but the general description of the state of being independent should not be.

In this Wikipedia article on the Turkish war of Independence, we have

"the burgeoning independence movement"

"its right to life and independence – its entire future"

"Turkish independence"

Note that none of them capitalize "independence".

  • Max Williamss, my idea was that since 'independence' in the sentence refers to an event (of national and international significance, no less), it would have acquired a unique or special usage (as Edwin Ashworth mentions in his comment above)---or not?
    – user191110
    Aug 19, 2016 at 12:57
  • @user191110 that's certainly possible - sometimes words take on a special significance and get capitalized by certain groups or in certain contexts. There are no rules about this, it's a very organic process. But, if you're not certain that has happened in this instance, then I think it's best to not capitalize. Aug 19, 2016 at 12:59
  • I'm sure you are right and the answer lies in erring on the side of consistency with the rest of the world.
    – user191110
    Aug 19, 2016 at 13:07
  • @user191110 that is usually a good strategy. Aug 19, 2016 at 13:11
  • 1
    As consistently mentioned, I would agree there is not a hard and fast rule of right or wrong here. One can use capitalization in this case to convey subtle differences in meaning or emphasis. The phase above, "Turkish independence" as written to me would most often convey that the writer was referring to Turkish people having an independent trait or nature, while "Turkish Independence" would immediately make me think of the act of Turkey becoming and independent nation. That would be my initial thoughts on the phrase which then might be modified by context.
    – dlb
    Aug 19, 2016 at 13:14

It should be lower cased.

Independence is a concept, and concepts are merely nouns and do not get upper-cased.

You only capitalize ideas like that as part of names; the War of Independence, or Independence Day, or so on.

You would similarly only capitalize words like "republic" or "democracy" when they're in names, such as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) or the Republican or Democratic Parties of the United States. The fact that the United States is a democratic republic should be reported in lower case.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.