Constitutional FAQ Answer #141 – The U.S. Constitution Online – USConstitution.net

Constitutional FAQ Answer #141

<<Previous Question |
Question Index |
Subject Index |
Constitutional Index |
Next Question>>

Q141. “When do you refer to the Constitution
with a capital C and when do you refer to it with a small C?”

A. Ah, an English usage question — I don’t get many of those.

Generally, when you’re speaking of any specific constitution, you capitalize
the word: the U.S. Constitution; the Vermont Constitution; the Iraq
Constitution. If you’re writing a paper about the U.S. Constitution, it would
be proper to refer to it as “the Constitution” in the text. If you’re speaking
of constitutions generally, as I have done a couple of times in this paragraph
already, you would use the lowercase word.

The confusion can come in when you are talking about a specific constitution
in a mix of specific and general terms. For example: “The Framers met in
Philadelphia to craft the Constitution.” or “The Framers met in Philadelphia to
craft a constitution.” Using “the” versus “a” changes which word you would

Other words based on “constitution” should always be lowercase, such as
“constitutional” or “constitutionality.”

Last Modified: 16 Aug 2010

Valid HTML 4.0