Today, I’m madly editing chapter six of The Wizard of Yonkers and switching the POV around between characters. While working on a line of dialog, I realized I was not sure if I should capitalize a term of endearment like you would a nickname. Here’s what I found out.

Nicknames are always capitalized, however terms of endearment are only capitalized when used as a nickname. Look at the use of the word “dear.”

When used as a form of address (nickname) it is capitalized:

Hello Dear, back from the store already?

When not used as a form of address it is not capitalized:

Honey, your such a dear for going to the store for me.

The rule of thumb is to look at how the word is being used. If it’s used as a form of address (i.e., nickname), it is always capitalized. In this instance, this same rule would apply for words like mom, dad, mother, father, etc.