Why is "father" in capitalized in the following sentence?

"I think I'll bully Father into getting me one.

"Father" has once been mentioned before in the following:

My father's next door buying my books.

Is "Father" a proper noun here? Why hasn't the author used "my father" instead of "Father" in the first sentence?

More context is here:

"My father's next door buying my books and mother's up the street looking at wands," said the boy. He had a bored, drawling voice. "Then I'm going to drag them off to took at racing brooms. I don't see why first years can't have their own. I think I'll bully Father into getting me one and I'll smuggle it in somehow."


In the first instance, the author is using

my father

as a common noun, the male parent

later the author uses

I think I'll bully Father into getting me one

as the proper noun, in the same way he would call out "Father!" instead of "Dad!" or "Daddy!" to address his male parent.

I've always thought that using "Father" or "Mother" to address one's parents was similar to wearing a jacket and tie to dinner every night.

  • Is it all right to use Father when talking to somebody else that is not your sibling or your parent, like this case? By the way, I didn't understand your point in your last example of jacket and tie.
    – Diamond
    Jun 4 '17 at 22:36
  • Conceivably the only other time you would address someone as "Father" who is not your parent would be if you were talking to a Catholic priest or if it was a nickname of some sort. When I was 8 years old, I went to school with a boy, Francis J Clarke III (the third), very formal family, they wore jacket and tie to dinner, at home, every night, even at 8 years old.
    – Peter
    Jun 4 '17 at 22:53
  • I think you probably didn't catch what I meant. I meant you call your father Father when talking to somebody else. For example, I say to you: "Father and I are going to do the shopping this evening." You are not my parent nor my sibling, but I am addressing my father as Father when talking to you. That was a nice memory :-) and a somehow outlandish family.
    – Diamond
    Jun 5 '17 at 9:09
  • Yes, calling your father "Father" when talking to someone else is perfectly fine. ""My Father and I went fishing over the weekend." It is interchangeable with "Dad".
    – Peter
    Jun 5 '17 at 17:34

Wikipedia's entry on proper nouns provides some good insight:

`A proper noun is a noun that in its primary application refers to a unique entity, such as London, Jupiter, Sarah, or Microsoft, as distinguished from a common noun, which usually refers to a class of entities (city, planet, person, corporation), or non-unique instances of a specific class (a city, another planet, these persons, our corporation).

Names are proper nouns, because a name typically refers to exactly 1 unique person.

Because proper nouns (names) refer to a single unique entity, the question "which X" is usually already known, and the function of determiner is not needed.

Some roles are so important that they can be used as names. Mother, Father, Lord are examples.

So my father and Father refer to the same person, but a person could not say my father as a name.

Father, where are you taking us?

Where is my father taking us?

Where is Father taking us?

An exception: Father can refer to God and in that case it can be capitalized, like other nouns/pronouns refering to deities.

My Father in heaven, watch over her soul.

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