“Capitol” vs “Capital”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

With only one letter differentiating them from each other, capital and capitol are two easily confused words. Even your keyboard autocorrect can help you confuse them.

The fact that both are often used when talking about politics or the government doesn’t help, either.

Capital is used both as a noun and an adjective. Capital means the following; capital letters, a state’s or nation’s capital city that houses the state or federal government.

A capitol is a building where the legislature convenes.

The US Congress convenes in the Capitol, a building located in Washington, D.C.

See also: When to Use “Passed” vs “Past”: Definitions and Examples

Capitol vs capital

Definition of capital

We already mentioned that capital can either be a noun or an adjective in use. As an adjective, capital can mean ‘uppercase letters’, ‘punishments involving execution’, money used to start a business, or something that is serious, important, or influential.

For example;

  • January. (We always write January in the capital letter J)
  • Grace was always against capital punishment.
  • We saw an increase in capital gains in the last quarter.
  • Peter’s capital offense was his unwillingness to say he was sorry.

As a noun, capital can mean accumulated wealth, an uppercase letter, or a city where the seat of government is situated.


  • You need to accumulate enough capital before starting your business.
  • When you write in all capitals it will seem like you’re shouting.
  • Paris is the capital of France.

The main city and typically the location of the state government is the capital of a state. The capital city is the most significant city. Albany is the capital of New York, for instance. Washington, D.C. is the capital of the US.

See also: Upon vs On

Definition of capitol

A capitol is a building in which where the government legislature resides.

In the United States, the Capitol is a building in Washington DC where the United States Congress meets. Laws are passed in the capitol.

Cuba, Venezuela, and Colombia also have capitols. Countries like Norway, Canada, and Kenya, call their legislative buildings parliaments.

See also: “Sew” vs “Sow”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

How do you differentiate capitol vs capital

Capitol with an o refers to a type of building that usually has a dome where the government passes its laws. Aside from this, in all other cases, you will use capital with an a.

Capital and capitol examples

“But it frees up capital and adds 40 to 50 basis points to a key measure of Deutsche Bank’s financial health, its common equity Tier 1 capital ratio” – The Wall Street Journal.

The capital of India is New Delhi.

“The letter, in which Mr. Carney described himself as “Your Majesty’s humble and obedient servant”, was branded at the top with a red-inked “Seen by the Queen” stamp in capital letters to show the sovereign had read the correspondence” – The Daily Telegraph.

The capitol’s second floor houses a grand social hall.

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