In the English language, we have proper nouns and improper (common/generic) nouns. Only proper nouns will begin with a capital letter.
In dealing with the four seasons (winter, spring, summer and autumn), we must remember that these words are usually improper nouns. Thus, they are not capitalized most of the time.
There are a few exceptions to this rule.
- If the season is placed as the first word in a sentence, then it must, obviously, be capitalized. This is not because it is a season, but because it is the first word in a sentence.
- Autumn brings cool, crisp weather.
- If the season is part of a title or name, it should be capitalized because it is now part of a proper name.
- The Winter Sports Committee
- If the season is personified in writing, then it should be capitalized. This is often done in poetry and sometimes in prose. To personify something means to give it human characteristics. If you wanted to write about summer as if it were a person, then capitalization is required.
- Summer gently moves across the open prairies to bring warmth and life to all.
- If the season is a person’s given name. Given names are always proper and as such they will always be capitalized.
- Spring Elizabeth Jones
Knowing when to capitalize the seasons is a simple matter of learning the rules of capitalization. Just remember, proper nouns (names) are capitalized and improper nouns are not.