Typically, the four seasons are not spelled out using capitals. That is because they are considered common nouns, and therefore do not feature this distinction. However, if a season is personified, or is part of a name, a capital letter is used.
For example, you capitalize the word, “winter,” when you are speaking of the annual “Winter Dance,” or you begin “summer” with a capital when you are referring to the “Summer Solstice.”
Personifying a Season
You often see the seasons capitalized in prose and poetry as personification is frequently used. For example, you can capitalize a season if you give it a human characteristic. This is denoted in such passages as the following:
- Along the horizon, Summer paints the evening sky.
- She felt Winter’s glacial breath in the fading breeze.
- In the early light, Spring scents the air with rain.
- Standing in the shadows, Autumn colors the leaves.
However, you would not capitalize a season if it were used as follows (even in poetry):
–The breeze holds winter in its hand.
–The canvas of summer is colored blue.
Again, if the season is directly personified, you would make an exception, as in the following:
–On the river, Autumn slumbers.
–Coasting downhill, Winter meets Spring.
When you add a human quality to a season, you, in a sense, make it a proper noun. Therefore, capitalization is used, even if it is not thought as a common convention grammatically. Usually, a thing or animal is personified to produce imagery. Therefore, the personification of a season is an exception to the rule.
Personification versus Anthropomorphism
You can contrast personification with anthropomorphism. In the case of anthropomorphism, inanimate objects or animals are given human traits, which make them appear more like people. For example, animations, such as Tom and Jerry, Mickey Mouse, or Yogi Bear, are representations of anthropomorphism.