Are Nicknames Capitalized?

The Car Talk guys (aka Click and Clack) are retiring. Here’s how you tell the difference between a nickname and a term of endearment.

Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read

Tom and Ray Magliozzi just announced that in September they’ll stop producing new episodes for their popular NPR show Car Talk. Tom and Ray also go by Click and Clack.

Capitalize Nicknames

"Click" and "Clack" are capitalized because they’re nicknames—they take the place of a real name. You might say to your brother, “Boy, I’d sure like to meet Tom and Ray,” or you might say, “I’d sure like to meet Click and Clack.” The nicknames are essentially interchangeable with the real names.

Don’t Capitalize Terms of Endearment

Nicknames are different from terms of endearment, however. Terms of endearment aren’t capitalized. For example, let’s say you call your husband "honey." You might walk in the door and say “Honey, I’m home,” but you wouldn’t call your sister and say, “When I got home, honey was already making dinner. What a guy!”

A term of endearment isn’t interchangeable with a name the same way a nickname is, and terms of endearment aren’t capitalized.

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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.

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