Capital, Capitol — It’s all Good!

As a writer, I love words! A slight change in spelling can mean a world of difference. A recent walk to the Idaho State Capitol building in Boise triggered my thought-process for this post.

Capitol — with an O in the last syllable

  • The building in which a legislative assembly meets. I love this spelling tip: the o in capitol is round like the dome of a capitol building.


Capital — with an A in the last syllable

  • A city that serves as the seat of government
  • Money, property, asset, or advantage
  • A capital letter (i.e., used at the beginning of a sentence or someone’s name)


My personal favorite is when Capital is used as an adjective — That’s a capital idea! — Meaning excellent, jolly good, or spot on!

What was the last capital idea you had?

© Laurie Buchanan

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46 thoughts on “Capital, Capitol — It’s all Good!

  1. The last capital idea I had was to agree going on all those hikes with my daughter. Part of me didn’t want to go–but it proved more than worthwhile. Not only did we make memories, I learned again about pushing through perceived boundaries. (Smiling at your enjoyment of words. Capital, my dear Watson, errr, Laurie.)

    • Kathy – After reading your blog post, I too think hiking with your daughter was a capital idea!

      By the way, did your son receive his bicycle via mail? If yes, was he over the moon?

      • He received a notice that it was at the UPS center yesterday. He’s teaching high schoolers for an intensive three week course so has to figure out a time to pick it up. I think he’s still pondering logistics. How nice of you to ask.

      • Kathy – Those high schoolers are fortunate to have him as their instructor. He’s going to have a blast with that bike once he’s got it in his possession. You’ve heard of “buns of steel.” He’s going to have “calves of steel” after riding on the terrain where he lives 🙂

    • Carol – Ohhhhh, you’ve asked a great question (Does every capitol have a dome?) to which I don’t know the answer. I betcha a dollar to a donut that if my friend Ted Howard reads this post, he’ll give us the answer. Stay tuned…

  2. My very latest capital idea was to check your blog! The one before that was to take a walk with my camera and see what comes in front of it today…so off I go. Have a capital day!

  3. As I read this post I was remembering the early 20th century novels my mother had on the shelves in our home. “Capital, old fellow,” might be an ejaculation (yes, they used that word, too). But, of course, Laurie, I never get ahead of you in your creative thinking. Looking forward to a capital time in Seattle!

    • Shirley – I’m typing this reply to you from our hotel room on the outskirts of Seattle (a pet-friendly Best Western in Lynnwood). Oh boy howdy, I get to see and listen to you speak tomorrow evening and I’m so looking forward to meeting you in person 🙂

      Your comment made me laugh 🙂

  4. YOur phOtos Are lOvely! And yOur nOting NuAnces of wOrds. Now I’m going to stop doing that thAt.

    My last capital idea? Putting on reserve at the library Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir entitled Fun Home, which blends illustrations with story, perhaps my own memoir format. One thing I especially like about blogging is the convenience of merging pictures and words as you so famously do also.

    • Marian – You reply made me laugh! When you say “illustrations” — is that different from photographs? If yes, does that mean that your phenomenal artist husband will be doing the illustrations for your memoir?

  5. Thank you for these striking photos, Laurie. Oh, yes and spelling… Well, I used to be embarrassed by my misspellings and misuse of words. Now I try to forgive myself. I am human. And everyone has their issues. I will try to retain your words when it comes to ‘capital’ and ‘capitol’–hopefully they will work. But capital ideas fight for room in my creative brain. : )
    All the best…

    • Leanne – Yes, indeed, we all have our issues. Len (my husband) and I just drove to Seattle (we’re here now to meet Shirley Hershey Showalter – author of Blush – in person) and I have “issues” with being a passenger (braking on my sids of the car, grabbing the door handle, muffled screaming into my hand-covered face next to cliffs). You get the idea… 🙂

  6. Ye old “capital” vs “capitol” conundrum. What beautiful pictures. My most recent capital idea, I have to say, is my rooftop reading solution to my summer woes (thanks for visiting and RTing, friend). Happy Tuesday.

  7. The capital idea I had yesterday was to schedule an early pick up for 2 of our grandchildren at their summer camp. I was helping my Brazilian daughter-in-law and our son as they prepared for the World Cup Soccer Game between Brazil and Germany at their home. It was a treat for the children an me. I enjoyed being introduced to their counselors and chatting about their day at camp, as I drove them home. Spending time with our precious grandchildren is ALWAYS A CAPITAL IDEA!!

    • Sheila – yes, Yes, YES to grandchildren. We don’t have any — yet — but when the time comes, we’ll be over the moon! And I can well imagine the World Cup soccer viewing is passionate in your son and daughter-in-law’s home 🙂

  8. My most recent capital idea was painting at our local farmers’ market. It went rather well if I do say so myself! Thank you Laurie for your, as always, inspiring post.

    • Terrill – Oh how FUN! We walk to our local farmer’s market each and every Saturday morning and have a wonderful time. I’ve never seen an artist there. Knowing you, you’ll start a FANTASTIC GLOBAL TREND! 🙂

  9. In my editing role at the university I see this word misspelled quite often! I do think us is ing it as an adjective is a very good choice. My capital idea has been to arrange our schedules so that at least a couple of nights a week we can take a long after dinner walk with our grandchildren–without mom or dad. The conversations we have on those walks are just so incredibly rich. I look forward to many more. 🙂

  10. Good afternoon Laurie …I’m all behind this week so I’m trying to catch up .
    That building with its magnificent dome is so beautiful . I love the photos you send it feels like I’m right there with you looking up at the splendor .

    I think it was Charles Dickens that tended to use the word ‘Capital ‘ meaning ‘Top Of The World ‘ etc . I know you are an avid reader do you like any of Charles Dickens ? or do you find them dark and heavy ? I can’t think of anything better than a log fire , cold dark night , a glass of red wine and David Copperfield to share it .

    My capital idea today is to meditate …it always works for me when my brain is frazzled and it is at mo. Have a lovely week Laurie .

  11. My capital idea was to go to the gym–and then to spend some time chatting with a new friend who needed some support–even though I have a ton of work to do. I love your photo essay!

  12. Hi Laurie,

    My most recent capital idea is expressed in my latest blog on Chaos:

    I read a quote from Warren Ellis recently that I both liked and disliked in about equal measure:
    “If you believe that your thoughts are made inside your head, do you also believe that television shows are made inside your television set?”.

    I like the quote in the sense that there is a lot of stuff that happens outside the brain that influences what goes on inside the brain.

    I dislike the quote in the sense that the brain is a whole lot more than just a receiver. Certainly the brain receives all the sensory and sub sensory input that reality provides, and the brain does a lot more with it than a TV set does. The brain is more like a computer, and much more than any computer yet existing. The notion that the brain simply receives input from some higher level consciousness is a common one in mythology and is not at all supported by a modern scientific understanding of what the brain does (and modern science understands only a small part of what the brain does, and that small bit is already far more than most understand).

    So it is kinda like that chaos image of the complexity in a simple equation, and the vast number of levels of complexity that we each are. If we could somehow take a picture of all the molecules in any one of us, and we had been looking at that picture at 100 molecules per second since the beginning of the universe – 14 billion years ago, we would be about 1% of the way through that single image. And to make sense of what molecules do, we have to make movies with a frame rate of billions of frames per second, and ply it back slowly to let us see. The complexity inside any one of us is so far beyond our capacity to understand it is just mind blowing!!!

    We all, as individuals and as a species, have a strong tendency to underrate what we are, and what we are capable of being and doing.

    Old habits die hard.

  13. Laurie the last “Capital” idea I had was to keep pace with the student group during a trip two months ago to our nation’s Capital. The dome was undergoing some construction work inside, but the majestic aspect wasn’t compromised one iota. As always a brilliant idea here for a post my friend!

  14. Capitol/capital – I always look those up before using them because I don’t trust my memory! But I will try to remember your tip, the round o like the dome of a capitol building. The last capital idea I had was to plan and throw a baby shower for my daughter. 🙂

  15. Drooling today! Procedures all completed and dogs wrestling….healing these jaw and tooth problems – a great Capital…Capitol idea!

    Read this while waiting in the chair….that was another Capital Capitol idea !
    Sam’s post was interesting too – I saved each to distract me – worked well

  16. Laurie, wow, this one almost got past me! I put it on the back burner to simmer awhile and like the thoughtless cook I sometimes am, went off and left it. The last capital idea I had and am still having as a matter of fact, was to not plant so much this Spring and Summer. Not only in the vegetable garden but in my personal flower beds as well. This Spring while mulling over what to put here and what to use there, I decided to step back, just to see what offered to grow and thrive on it’s own. Thinking of all the times I felt chained to the water spigot and not able to do something because some delicate bit of greenery might droop unless waited on leaf and root, I put the brakes to my Spring-time enthusiasm knowing that in the hot Summer months ahead I would not want to be running around dragging hoses in the heat. No, it’s not the glorious display my friends and neighbors are used to but ditching the unrealistic expectations of others has been the best thing I’ve done for myself in years. Yep, I would call that a capital idea.

  17. I love that, how just a little letter can change the meaning of a word completely. It happens also in Spanish, like with the words ‘bolso’ (handbag) and ‘bolsa’ (plastic bag) or ‘barco’ (sailing boat/ship) or ‘barca’ (rowing boat).
    Our latest ‘capital’ idea was buying our motorhome after I got more and more fed up with wet camping holidays in tents. The freedom our camper van has brought us is simply invaluable. 🙂

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