I have a being with a name. I capitalize its name when I mention it. But mostly, I refer to it as "it". I use "it" a lot in dialogue, as characters talk about this being. Should I capitalize "it", in these cases?

  • 1
    No, why? You can say 'it', 'that-being', 'alien', 'stranger'. There are a mass of words. Read Bradbury and King. Nov 28, 2016 at 8:14

3 Answers 3


Capitalizing a pronoun gives it proper noun status or deity status. So writing It means either that the thing's name is literally It, like Stephen King's monster, or you're referring to a god the way the Abrahamic religions refer to Yahweh as Him even in the middle of a sentence.

Therefore, if the creature has an actual name, like Gormenghast or Voldemort or Donnie, use either the name or the third-person-neutral pronoun it, lowercase. If the creature had a gender, you'd have no problem referring to he or she, right? So it is no different.

  • So, Yahveh is "He", because Hi is a God, and Voldemort is "he" because he is lacking an official deity status? Please, clarify.
    – Lew
    Nov 28, 2016 at 18:00
  • @Lew You have it exactly right. Aphrodite would be referenced as She by her worshippers. (As I am not a worshipper, I use her and not Her.) Voldemort never claimed godhood, so he wouldn't get a capital H from anyone. Nov 28, 2016 at 18:08
  • 1
    That was my thought, too, makes perfect sense, glad to have confirmation. Thanks!
    – Lew
    Nov 28, 2016 at 18:12

This depends. If you are speaking about the creature as a generic item in a sentence:

"I watched as it ordered a Happy Meal," my friend told me.

then you would keep it lowercase:

If, though, "It" was an alternative name for the creature, you would capitalize:

Godzilla was so disgusting that we felt that referring to it by name would give it undue humanity, so we decided to simply refer to it as "It" from now on.
Some weeks later, my friend told me, "I watched as It ordered a Happy Meal."

  • Yes or you could italicise it in this case, where "it" was a word used because you were avoiding using the name. (e.g. in "I Am David", the narrator refers to the Nazis as them or they)
    – komodosp
    Dec 5, 2016 at 12:52

I agree with Loren Ipsum about It as a personal pronoun, but I did have a little more to add. If you are looking for a way to keep dialogue and other description from being confusing, I would recommend a judicious use of italics. This wouldn't be necessary all of the time, but only so the readers would know the difference between it, the monster and it/its/it's.

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