Capital vs Capitol - How to use it properly

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The primary distinction between "capital" and "capitol" is that "capital" refers to a legislative building or location, whereas "capitol" refers to a legislative building or location. Learn more about the differences between "capitol" and "capital" and the origins of these words.


'Capital' vs. 'Capitol': Which Should You Use?

The words "capital" and "capitol" are homophones, which means they sound the same. They are also almost identically spelled. While the term "capital" has many meanings, it only refers to a capitol building or buildings that house a legislature.

Capital refers to money, uppercase letters, the death penalty, and capital cities that house the seat of government.

The term "capitol" always refers to a physical capitol building (such as the United States Capitol Building) or the surrounding area (such as Capitol Hill).

To distinguish between these frequently confused words, consider whether you are referring to a specific building or the surrounding area. In that case, use the word "capitol." Use the word "capital" in all other cases.


The Meaning of the Words 'Capital' and 'Capitol'

"Capital" and "capitol" are both derived from the Latin word "caput," which means "head." The term "capitol" derives from the Roman "Capitlium," a temple dedicated to the god Jupiter on Rome's Capitoline Hill.

What Does the Term "Capitol" Mean?

The term "capitol" always refers to a structure that houses the legislative branch of government. Use the word "capital" to refer to anything other than a building or the immediate surrounding area. For example, "the United States Congress meets in the United States Capitol building in the nation's capital of Washington, DC."


How to Use the Word 'Capitol' in a Sentence

The following sentences use the word "capitol" correctly.

- The newspaper dispatched a reporter to the state capitol in Albany.

- Because the Capitol is under construction, our state government meets in a temporary location.

- She lives on Capitol Hill and can easily walk to work.


What Does the Term "Capital" Mean?

In the English language, the word "capital" has several different meanings.

A location: A city or region typically serves as the capital of a state or country and houses the seat of government.

A capital offense is one that is punishable by death, whereas capital punishment is the death penalty itself.

An uppercase letter: Capital letters are uppercase letters.

Money: Capital can refer to money or other valuable items, such as venture capital.

Something fantastic: A capital idea, for example, is a fantastic one.

How to Use the Word 'Capital' in a Sentence

The following sentences use the word "capital" correctly.

- The capital of the United States is Washington, DC.

- Make sure that the first letter of a proper noun is capitalized.

- We will raise funds through a targeted fundraising round.

- The death penalty has been abolished by the state legislature.

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