The moon is a big and serene rock that resides in outer space. That big, that glows, it’s friends through the stars, and it moves roughly in a curved and also well-trodden path.

You are watching: Is the moon a proper noun

Do you know which moon i mean?

This is the inquiry that has rocked the Quartz newsroom come its core over the past week, v friends and colleagues comes to online blows over whether or not to capitalize words “moon” as soon as referring to our closestly celestial neighbor.

It all started with one innocent question posed come Quartz editors (and resident grammar czars) heather Landy and Georgia Frances King. You can read the dramatic exchange below:


The debate in favor of capitalizing the Moon, according to Landy, is a matter of clarity for the reader, and also respect because that orbiting orbs in general. The earth moon is not the just moon in the universe, after ~ all. There space hundreds simply in our very own solar system, consisting of 79 circling Jupiter alone. “The Moon should be capitalized to different it from all of the other moons that space out there, although ns realize this is Earth-centric,” Landy stated in a follow-up interview.

It’s difficult to argue with that logic! but NOT IMPOSSIBLE. Indeed, it appears that Quartz had actually inadvertently stumbled into a hotly contested debate. An informal Twitter vote by reporter Akshat Rathi mirrors that famous opinion is divided on the matter, return a bulk (56%) are in donate of Moon capitalization.

And yet the decimal camp of lowercase “moon” advocates have actually many strong arguments of their own. Check out on to find out what castle are, and also tag us on Twitter ( come let us know where friend stand.

The instance for capitalizing “Moon”

David Yanofsky, points editor: This isn’t difficult. The earth moon is the Moon. Jupiter’s moons space Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, etc. This is Galileo’s true legacy: our moon is just one that the numerous moons the the universe and also its name is the Moon.

Michael Tabb, video clip journalist: There are numerous suns and also moons out there, but our sun is the Sun, ours moon is the Moon, our planet is Earth, however earth is the soil where you plant things. When you’re talking about details places, friend capitalize your names.

Mike Murphy, deputy editor: The Moon is a proper noun. The a ar you can visit, so this is the just correct answer.

Zoë Schlanger, reporter: Capitalizing it simply for the whimsy factor.

Adam Freelander, senior video producer:I just want come say this whole dispute is sort of my fault because I to be copy editing a video that had actually “the moon” lowercase and also that looked weird to me, so ns asked the grammar channel, and that was how the large mess began. But I constantly say, trust her instincts, and also my original instinct was that “the moon” looked weird, so i am sticking through what i think room my great Moon instincts.

Jason Karaian, editor: If there were an ext than one herbal satellite orbiting Earth, this more than likely wouldn’t be as controversial. Then, there would be Moon and—I dunno—Brian. No Brian looking lover tonight? it’s my favourite of the moons. It’s awkward the the Moon’s ideal name additionally describes what that is—like males named Guy—but hey, we’re stuck to a decision made plenty of Brians ago.

In favor of a lowercase “moon” 

Akshat Rathi, reporter: Only as a science writer, together I am, perform you can argue around capitalizing the moon. That’s since the probability the a non-science writer would use “moon” to median anything however the earth moon is minuscule. And, also as a science writer, I’m no on the next of capitalization. In almost every context, it’s perfectly clear the the moon is our celestial neighbor. Over there is no need to capitalize unnecessarily since Capitalized Words room Annoying.

Corinne Purtill, senior reporter: To mine esteemed colleagues who would argue for capitalizing the moon: No. Never.

If a story falls short to make clear which moon in the well-known universe is being discussed, climate it suffers indigenous greater troubles than those of capitalization. And also if the context is clear, why expedition up the reader v the distracting resources M? perform we are afraid offending our readers on Europa?

This is not mere issue of style. It is around the unintended consequences of rigid adherence to grammar rules. That is around our values, and the method our selections now will bend the arc that history.

Imagine, together an exercise, the we take on the capitalized Moon. What next? having turned our backs on usual sense case choices, carry out we go back to the Noun capitalization and also other grammatical flourishes the the 18th Century? In what other ways shall we refuse Progress? are we careening toward a Future in which us disburse Upper-Case letters freely, however with-hold the Rights, Vaccines, and other societal Advance-ments our cumulative efforts have actually made possible? Slippery is that slope indeed.

Stand with me, friends, on the ideal side that history—not the dark side of the Moon.

Olivia Goldhill, reporter: The moon is a friendly, mystical place, conversely, Moon is boring and also practical, and also has to abide by such onerous systems as resources letters and also proper nouns. Yes sir a guy who stays in the moon. He doesn’t live in the Moon.

Dave Gershgorn, reporter: What if i think it should be “our moon”? “Our moon” disclosure a sense of community, and the only reason because that not using it is the it would be confusing because that anyone not born ~ above Earth.

Susan Howson, deputy push editor: I can see both sides of the argument, but personally, capitalizing it looks funny come me. Like earlier when civilization said “to-day” and “break fast.” it does, though, seem the it’s a problem of a point being a thing with additionally the surname of that thing. Due to the fact that other planets’ moons prevent this by having actual ideal names, ns propose that us rename our moon to Thor. Or everything you want, ns don’t know, we can take a poll or something. He’s just my favourite Avenger (hey, another thing that has the appropriate name version of what it likewise is!).

Ali Griswold, reporter: it is “moon,” all reduced case, in Goodnight Moon, and also I think we would all carry out well come defer come this classic of children’s literature.

Katherine Ellen Foley, reporter: I admire and respect every one of my colleagues, but the persons who describe the moon together the Moon room silly and wrong. Although we additionally write “Earth,” we’re introduce to the earth as a proper noun. As soon as we refer to “the earth” we mean the ground. We don’t speak to our closest rock girlfriend Moon, because the moon to be the an initial moon us knew—the really thing that offered us a meaning of a moon! creating the Moon feels favor writing the Internet, and also we all understand it’s “internet.” The moon must remain lowercase.

Annalisa Merelli, reporter: i think if we let the web to end up being the internet, climate we need to go v moon. Unless we’re for some reason listing the moons the the solar system planets, in which instance I guess it’s Moon, the earth moon. I think an ext importantly, we must ask ourselves: Do civilization listen come Pink Floyd’s The Dark next of the Moon enough? most likely not.

ephrat livni, reporter: favor feminist writer bell hooks, i think in emphasizing ideas, not names that people, places, planets or moons. Or, in the words of ee cummings, “i’m a little eye poet.” and so is my moon. (honestly tho, i’m fine with everything style rule, simply wanted to write this there is no capitalization).

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The decision

Whatever the grammar czars say, goes. The Moon the is. Now don’t forget to walk out and gaze at it when in a while.