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 Dictionary.com.
- The capital of Texas is Austin.
- Be sure you are using capital letters correctly in your paper.
- How much capital gains tax will I have this year?
- I need directions to the Capitol building.
This is the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C.
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.