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I recognize that in English proper nouns are supposed to be capitalized, especially in the case where a proper noun is also a common noun (e.g. the mall vs. the Mall), but only when referring to G-d do people capitalize pronouns. I have been told that this is out of respect.

In Hebrew, however, there are no capital letters at all (or all caps if you prefer); so how did this practice get started in other languages?

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7  
This is really a question for english.stackexchange.com –  avi Sep 17 '11 at 17:37
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@avi, given that this seems to be common practice in the Jewish community, I think it's in-scope to explore how it came to be so. –  Isaac Moses Sep 18 '11 at 2:36
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@avi, I'm tending to agree with IsaacMoses, but feel free to vote to close the question as off-topic here and suitable for English Language & Usage. –  msh210 Sep 18 '11 at 4:05
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It's not off topic. I just think he will get a more correct and thorough answer there. Jews do it because English does it, now why does English do it? –  avi Sep 18 '11 at 6:28

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

This is a matter of the English language. I found this site which goes through some of the 'rules'. http://www.teachingcollegeenglish.com/2004/02/04/capitalizing-god/

In essennce, a capital first letter implies a 'proper noun', it also implies a bit of 'the one and only'. Capitalizing the word 'He' means 'that "He" which we all know, the one and only.. sortof. It's not a hard and fast rule and different people will do it differently.

The main reason I'm answer this question though, is that it is possible, that capitalizing certain words has the same affect as the word "et" in Hebrew. As in "Et Hashamim, v'et haaretz' It's there to emphasize importance. You will notice in the link that not only Gd is capitalized, but also "Justice" or "Evil"

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Capitalising Justice and Evil is a form of personification, and is, I think, distinct from capitalising pronouns referring to God. –  TRiG Dec 4 '12 at 20:37

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