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Which sentence uses the correct capitalization for the name of the season?

I will travel in the summer of 2013.

or

I will travel in the Summer of 2013.

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  • I keep seeing seasons capitalized in Robert Caro's "Path to Power" (biography of LBJ). Pg 133: "He had started work in Winter." but even more strangely: "Spring was more pleasant, but Spring was followed by Summer, the Hill Country summer where laborers toiled..." then again: "And Summer became Autumn and then Winter again; the first cut of the wind of this new Winter may have..." Originally published in 1982 by Knopf, though this printing's from 2013. Anybody know what's up with this? – guangming Jun 21 at 19:41
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In contemporary English, you now normally capitalize the names of the seasons only when they are personified.

For personification, think of “poetic” or “creative” uses, where the season is thought of as possessing the characteristics of a person, and so becomes a proper noun meriting a capital letter.

  • In March, Spring shows her joyous moods.
  • All Nature hides from Winter’s icy breath.
  • We will muse on Summer’s ploys:
    How no partial gifts are hers,
    But now the palms and now the first
    Are dozed with kisses balmy-sweet
    From lips which breathe a pulsing heat.
    — Charles Mair
  • O WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being
    Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
    Are driven like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
    — Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
    — Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
    Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
    While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
    And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
    — John Keats

Also, Midwinter and Midsummer are often capitalized, as they are specific days.

Finally, the named seasons of a named year are also capitalized:

  • Back during Spring ’09, we had snow all the way till May.
  • We aren’t running the class for the Fall Semester.
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    What are your sources for this answer? – Nathan Arthur Jul 29 '16 at 0:29
  • @NathanArthur Every single style guide out there. It’s common knowledge. I have never seen anything that contradicts this. – tchrist Jul 29 '16 at 1:10
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    Yes, I haven't seen anyone contradict it. I've just had trouble finding where a reputable authority states that it's accepted practice to capitalize a season simply because it's combined with a date. It makes sense to me, I think it looks right, and I haven't heard anyone say it's wrong. Just have had trouble finding a source so was wondering if you had one. (And, yes, I did that Google search.) – Nathan Arthur Jul 29 '16 at 1:17
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    Oh, I see; I'm sorry. I hadn't realized you meant the very last part about the particular year. Now that you mention it, I don't know where I got that from! – tchrist Jul 29 '16 at 2:36
  • Oh, yeah, guess I should have been more specific. :) No worries. If it happens to come to you, I would be interested to hear. – Nathan Arthur Jul 29 '16 at 3:39

protected by tchrist Jun 21 at 21:05

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