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Difference between capital or capitol?

capital or capitol

In the English language, “capital” and “capitol” are two terms that often cause confusion due to their similar spelling and pronunciation. However, they carry distinct meanings and uses.

  • Grammar Facts: “Capital” can be used as both a noun and an adjective, depending on the context. As a noun, it often refers to a city that serves as the seat of government, wealth in the form of money or assets, or an uppercase letter. As an adjective, it describes something of utmost importance or relating to wealth. “Capitol,” on the other hand, is always a noun. It specifically refers to a building where a legislative body meets, with the most famous example being the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Quick Facts Table

Part of SpeechNoun, AdjectiveNoun
MeaningSeat of government, wealth, uppercase letterA building where a legislative body meets
UsageBroader, can refer to cities, finances, or lettersSpecific, refers only to buildings

Difference Between “Capital” OR “Capitol

Definition of Capital

Capital refers to a city that serves as the center of government for a country or region, financial assets or wealth, especially those used to start a business or invest, and an uppercase letter in writing.

Definition of Capitol

Capitol is a term used exclusively to describe a building or complex of buildings where a state's legislative body meets. It's most notably used to refer to the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., where the United States Congress meets.

Origin of Capital

The word capital originates from the Latin “capitalis,” which means “of the head,” derived from “caput” (head). This term evolved to signify figurative heads of society or top cities, and by extension, wealth.

Origin of Capitol

Capitol has its roots in the Latin word “Capitolium,” referring to the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome. The term was later adopted to denote buildings housing legislative bodies.


  • Capital is pronounced as /ˈkæp.ɪ.təl/.
  • Capitol is pronounced as /ˈkæp.ɪ.tɒl/.

Comparing Capital and Capitol

The primary difference between capital and capitol lies in their meanings and usage. Capital is a multifaceted term that can refer to a city, wealth, or an uppercase letter, reflecting its broader application in language. Capitol, however, specifically denotes a building where legislators meet, showcasing its narrower scope.

Comparison Table

UsageRefers to cities, wealth, or lettersRefers to a specific type of building
ContextEconomic, geographical, linguisticPolitical, architectural
FlexibilityCan be used in various contextsUsage is limited to specific contexts

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Capital in Sentences

  1. Berlin is the capital of Germany. (Refers to a city being the governmental center.)
  2. The company is looking to raise capital for its new project. (Refers to financial assets or funds.)
  3. Please write your name in capital letters. (Refers to uppercase letters in writing.)
  4. Education is of capital importance to our community. (Used as an adjective to denote something of great importance.)
  5. The capital gains tax affects many investors. (Refers to profits from investments.)

Use of Capitol in Sentences

  1. The capitol building houses the state’s legislature. (Refers to the specific building for legislative meetings.)
  2. Tourists often visit the Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Specific reference to the United States Capitol building.)
  3. The governor addressed the public from the steps of the capitol. (Indicates a speech given at a legislative building.)
  4. Renovations to the capitol were completed last year. (Refers to physical updates to a legislative building.)
  5. The capitol complex includes not just the main building but also surrounding offices. (Describes the broader legislative compound.)


While capital and capitol are often confused due to their similar spelling, their meanings are distinctly different. Capital has broader applications, referring to cities, wealth, or uppercase letters, while capitol specifically denotes buildings where legislatures meet. Understanding the context in which each word is used helps clarify their meanings and correct usage.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between “capital” and “capitol”?
    • Capital refers to cities, wealth, or uppercase letters. Capitol specifically refers to legislative buildings.
  • Can “capital” and “capitol” be used interchangeably?
    • No, they cannot be used interchangeably due to their distinct meanings.
  • How can I remember the difference between “capital” and “capitol”?
    • One way to remember is that capitol has an “o,” like the dome of the Capitol building. Capital has an “a” in all its forms, whether referring to a city, wealth, or letters.
Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith, writer at, blends creativity with insight, exploring technology, culture, and psychology. With a background in English Literature, she crafts engaging stories inspired by nature and urban life. Outside writing, she enjoys exploring and continuous learning.View Author posts

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