Professional Style

Capital vs. Capitol

May 2015
Spot the Error

Jerry has a hard time remembering that the capitol of Pennsylvania is not Philadelphia; it is Harrisburg.

Forget Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Let’s talk about capitol and capital.

The city that serves as the seat of government—for either state or nation— is the capital.

Harrisburg is the capital of Pennsylvania.
Washington, D.C. is the
capital of the United States.

However, if we’re talking about the legislative building itself, that’s capitol.

The Pennsylvania Capitol was designed by Joseph Huston.
The event was held at the U.S.
Capitol.

Confusing, I know … especially when capitols are located in capitals. But keep in mind, whereas capital has many meanings, capitol has just one—the building.

Oh, by the way, as with all proper nouns, capitol is capitalized (just to confuse you with another meaning of capital) when it’s part of a name. Otherwise, it’s lowercase.

Check out more writing tips below…

 

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