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CAPITAL LETTERS – Aren’t Just for Yelling While Texting

17 Aug

Writer’s Note: This is Thursday’s piece…this time I get to blame the internet itself and crappy weather.

I have a pet peeve about capital letters. I know, it sounds strange….unless you are in the over 35 crowd…then you understand exactly what I am saying even before I define the problem. Capital letters and the use of them is important, but when the heck did they become the way you yell at someone in a text, an e-mail or Facebook?

Let’s talk about my mom. I love my mom. She is in her 60’s, which no longer sounds that old to me, and she is a technical geek want to be. It was a side of her that none of us kids expected. For some reason though, when she hit 50, my mom went all Star Trekkie, flashy lights, lots of buttons, crazy on us. She ran out and bought an iPhone and a Kindle Fire and now, an iPad…yep my mom went to the dark side of geekdom and now, she explains a lot of crap about gadgets to me…go figure. Keep in mind however that this was the same woman who once uttered the words, “I don’t think my e-mails are getting to you, maybe you are too far away”.  It’s downright scary at times.

There is one thing that my mom had a hard time changing that drove us all nuts…she wouldn’t stop sending us messages in all caps. It was like being a kid again and getting yelled at for not cleaning my room. And I have to say that when I would get one of those messages written in all caps I often felt scolded. Do you know why I felt that way? BECAUSE CAPS AREN’T FOR MESSAGE WRITING! (See what I did there, you heard the yelling huh? It’s so rude….)

Capital letter use follows some very simple rules;

  • The first word of every sentence – Ummm duh…
  • The first-person singular pronoun
  • The first, last, and important words in a title – I know, I know, people screw this up all the time…try being the editor for a newspaper…
  • Proper nouns –Again…duh…..
  • Historical events: World War I, the Renaissance, the Crusades…these are all proper nouns too because they are also historical references to specific events.
  • Races, nationalities, languages: Swedes, Swedish, African American, Jewish, French, Native American- We could have the debate about capitalizing the words “blacks” and “whites” in reference to race here but I don’t wanna….let’s leave it at some writers do and some writers don’t. (I do capitalize these because they do speak to race…but that’s me)
  • Names of religions and religious terms: God, Christ, Allah, Buddha, Christianity, Christians, Judaism, Jews, Islam, Muslims – Now this one is less a “rule” and more a tradition and really depends on the writers upbringing more than anything else. Need proof? If you came from a church going, hell and brimstone, Sunday school attending family, try and write the word “god” and NOT capitalize it….can’t do it can you?

There are more rules but then we are just getting too darn specific…you understand what I mean. If you mean to yell, then by all means caps lock away but if not, pay attention to what you are doing for Pete’s Sake! Capitals follow rules and using them in a regular text or message isn’t one of the rules. (and it’s rude)

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Puncuation, Structure, Writing

 

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