Showing respect with "él" referring to "God"

Showing respect with "él" referring to "God"


Hello! I'm trying to be respectful of God in Spanish. smile So, I was wondering about whether the pronoun "él" should be capitalized when it refers to Dios. Also, we learned about something called "personal 'a'" in Spanish class. Do people still use that? Would it be appropriate to use personal "a" before saying "Dios"?

updated SEP 16, 2009
posted by bluegill

4 Answers


My Bible commonly refers to "el Señor" meaning the Lord. It doesn't normally capitalize "él" meaning he (God). I have seen "a Dios" and "a Jesús" used in the manner of the personal "a."

updated SEP 16, 2009
posted by Alicia-53

As you know, the Bible is a pretty good guide in matters such as that.

Notice Salmo 5:

4 Porque tú no eres un Dios que se complace en la maldad; El malo no habitará junto a ti.

And see that God is referred to with the tú form, and that it is not capitalized.

That is the 1960 Reina-Valera version, which is extremely highly regarded among Spanish-speaking Christians.

I would suggest you do a little Bible study and find out!

Most good versions of the Bible in Spanish are here:

Bible Gateway

updated SEP 16, 2009
posted by Goyo
www.biblegateway.com is a favorite of mine, as well. - Valerie, SEP 15, 2009
Um, Greg, " El " in that sentence is "the", not "he" ... I thought I could quickly find an example, but the subject pronouns are so often omitted... :( - Valerie, SEP 15, 2009
Thanks, Greg. I never thought of just looking in a Spanish Bible! Duh! - bluegill, SEP 16, 2009
Gracias, Valerie. But in that verse I wans't referring to the "El", I was referring to the "tu". If "Tu" is not capitalized, then neither would "el" be. However- I have some new info to share. - Goyo, SEP 16, 2009

I have some new perspective on this that I'd like to share. Above I quoted the Reina-Valera version, which I understand is more highly regarded in Spanish-speaking countries than the King James Version is in English speaking countries.

However, my Bible at home is the La Biblica de las Américas version. This morning I noticed capitalization of the "Él" in reference to Dios.

Salmo 97: 3 Fuego va delante de El, y quema a sus adversarios en derredor. (LBLA)

Checkng the same verse in the Reina-Valera, it's not capitalized:

Salmo 97: 3 Fuego irá delante de él, Y abrasará a sus enemigos alrededor. (R-V)

So I went back and checked Salmo 5:4, which I posted here yesterday from teh R-V. The LBLA says-

Salmo 5: 4Porque tú no eres un Dios que se complace en la maldad; el mal no mora contigo.

So the conclusion I reach is that the LBLA capitalizes Él in reference to Dios, but not tú. And the RV apparently doesn't capitalize either one.

The RV carries more weight as far as respect and tradition, but the LBLA is a very fine work, and I don't think it could be considered "wrong".

It seems that you could do it either way and not be incorrect.

updated SEP 16, 2009
posted by Goyo
Wow. I really appreciate you taking the time to check that out for me. That is definitely a great answer. thank you - bluegill, SEP 16, 2009
For Psalm 97:3, my bible says "El fuego va delante de él y...." I'm using the Santa Biblia Nueva Versión Internacional (NVI). - Alicia-53, SEP 16, 2009

It would definitely be proper to use a capital "E" when referring to God The capitilazation rules for using God's name in English are the same in Spanish. I am not sure about the "personal a" that you are talking about though...

updated SEP 15, 2009
posted by hlsbookworm
Hisbookworm-This reply is in direct conflict with Alicia-53. Are you both correct? What is the source for your clear statement? - Moe, SEP 15, 2009
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