Capital vs. Capitol

(grammar > grammar features > capital vs. capitol)

The words capital and capitol sound the same but they have different meanings. Mistakes occur because the words have similar spellings. They only difference in the spelling is the "a" and "o" letters. The easiest way to remember the difference is that the word capitol refers to a building or group of buildings.

The word "capital" has several meanings. The word capital can mean the capital of a state, country or region. It can mean a capital letter as opposed to a lowercase letter. It can also mean the amount of money available for investing. It can also mean significant or serious in some circumstances, such as a capital offense. A few more meanings for capital can be found on

Sentence Examples If you can remember that the "ol" ending refers to a building then you won't have a problem remembering the correct spelling of these words.

This is the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C.

U.S. Capitol Building
Photo: Architect of the Capitol

Geography: Capital and Capitol

The words are likely most frequently confused when a state capital or a capitol building are being written about. Here is a good video from Geography Minute about the difference between the two words. They provide a tip that you can remember the "o" in capitol building by visualizing the "o" as the top of the capitol building's dome.