Spelling Lesson: Capitol vs. Capital

Several days ago, I was unwinding from a long day at work the same way most millennials do: by exploring the wonders of the internet. After my routine checks of Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and ESPN, I decided to give Linkedin a rarer hello. Weaving through the updates and notifications section, I was happy to see that Johnny Littleton became CEO of his own company and that Edna Larson endorsed me for my amazing underwater basket weaving skills. I finally came upon the last update of the queue and what I saw made my jaw drop:


Notice anything wrong? Let me zoom in for you:

LinkedIn zoom

If you guessed that the problem is that this person does not have a professional profile picture, you are partially correct. (I’ll mention that I am not using the actual offender’s Linkedin profile, but rather, a random profile to provide my connection with anonymity. Therefore, the fact that there is no professional picture is irrelevant.)

If you guessed that they confused the words capitol and capital, BINGO!

I’m not going to lie – confusing these spellings is one of my biggest pet peeves. Ever. Of all time. I actually get stressed when I see someone that I know confuse these two words. In this instance, one of my roommates noticed my face turning red and the slight sound of my hyperventilation.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“I’m frustrated. People can’t seem to understand the difference between capitol and capital,” I said.

“Well, what are you going to do?” he inquired.

“Blog about it!”


It had actually been a goal of mine to start blogging as a hobby and this particular incident was the perfect catalyst to get me going. No sappy introduction post needed here – it feels good to just jump right into the blogosphere by teaching people how to spell. So now, I’ll take this brief opportunity to welcome you to my website and blog! I plan to keep up on this project (unlike pretty much every student who keeps a study abroad blog and writes “stay tuned for weekly updates!” at the beginning of the semester) and hope to churn out 1-2 posts a month at a minimum. I plan on writing about pretty much everything: politics, sports, my adventures, trying new things, social media, and even the weather! Feel free to subscribe or bookmark this website into your favorites.


Shameless plug aside and stress subsided, I’m ready to do you a favor and help you understand one of the most important things you will ever come to learn in my opinion – the difference between capitol and capital.

But before I begin, my other roommate admitted as I write this that he “just learned the difference between the two”, and after a relatively easy scan of the internet, I realize that other people have a hard time with the two words as well. It looks like we’re dealing with a fairly common problem here.

Whether it’s this hotel search company tweeting some hot deals, twitter.png

A show of some crafty photographic skills on Instagram,


Or an old style slide show presentation that I randomly found on Google…


the internet points you will attempt to win will be lost and your reputation will be on the line if you fail to use these words correctly! Luckily, I have this nifty guide for you so that you’re never in the situation to confuse the spellings of these words again.


image-1054_westfrontwithtulipshorizontal-4149Definition: It’s a building. Not a city. But a building. And most definitely not a city. Most commonly referred to as the place where Congress attempts to pass laws (key word: attempt). Most state legislatures are also housed in a capitol building of some sort as well.

Pronunciation: Capitol and Capital are pronounced pretty much the same way. But if it prevents you from screwing the spellings up, you can try inserting a soft ‘o’ sound when you say it. Try saying ‘Capi-toll’ several times. Do you know the difference now?

Used in a sentence: Chris Christie’s ultimate fantasy is to move the New Jersey capitol building into the middle of the George Washington bridge so that he can cause a permanent traffic jam and laugh at the mayor of Fort Lee because of the sweet revenge he will receive.

Mnemonic Device for the last three letters: Turf OLaws.


Djibouti is the capital city of Djibouti.

Definition: There are several, but in this case, I’m referring to the city where a region/country’s administrative work is done and where its governing body is housed.

Pronunciation: As I mentioned just before, capitol and capital are pronounced pretty much the same way, but if saying capital by pronouncing the t-a-l at the end like the name Talia will help you make it right,then be my guest. After all, this blog is about spelling – not pronouncing!

Used in a sentence: Shame on you for thinking Toronto is actually the capital of Canada!

Mnemonic Device for the last three letters: Tour And Lodge (in the capital city)!


So there you have it. All this work to rid society of one of its least important problems. If you learned something today, go and share this with your friends, relatives, bosses, and your math professor who doesn’t have an amazing handle on letters. They will thank you. And I will be able to sleep at night.



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