Word Choice: Sun vs. Son
3-minute read

Word Choice: Sun vs. Son

The words “sun” and “son” sound exactly the same, but they have different meanings. This makes it important to use the right term in your writing. Luckily, our guide below will help you pick the correct spelling every time.

Sun (The Nearest Star to Earth)

“Sun” is a noun that refers to the star at the center of our solar system:

It takes Mars 687 days to orbit the Sun.

As in the example above, people often capitalize “Sun” when discussing astronomy or the solar system. Here, for instance, we’ve capitalized “Sun” as we’re using it alongside the planet “Mars,” another astronomical object.

The Sun and the planets of the solar system.
The Sun and its little planet buddies.

However, you would not usually capitalize “sun” in other cases, such as when referring to the warmth and light we get from the sun:

We’ll leave the laundry to dry in the sun.

I can’t see when the sun is in my eyes.

We watched the sun dip below the horizon.

We also use “sun” in compound words, such as “sunlight” and “sunshine”:

The bright sunlight sparkled off the water.

The cat enjoyed basking in the sunshine.

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“Sun” can be a verb, too, where it refers to spending time in the sunshine:

They were sunning themselves on the beach all day.

But in all cases when you refer to the star nearest to the Earth, or anything to do with the light and warmth we get from it, “sun” is the correct spelling. To pick the right vowel, remember that the “sun” is “up in the sky.”

Son (A Male in Relation to His Parents)

The noun “son” describes a boy or man in relation to his parents.

Colin Hanks is Tom Hanks’ son.

The king’s first-born son inherited the kingdom.

Many small companies use “son(s)” in their name to show that they’re family-owned businesses (like the fictional Sanford and Son!).

For help with the spelling here, moreover, remember that a “son” is someone’s male “offspring” (an alternative word for “child”).

Summary: Sun or Son?

While these words sound similar, they have very different meanings:

  • Sun refers to our nearest star, as well as the light and heat it provides.
  • The word son describes a male in relation to his parents.

If you would like more help with your spelling and making sure your work is error free, remember our proofreading experts are available 24/7!

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