Alas, no capitals

I was on a theatre site the other day, and noticed that someone had posted without using capitals.  In response, another person had commented about the poster’s grammatical imperfections, indicating they couldn’t be successful until this was rectified.  As there weren’t many grammatical errors as such (maybe a missing apostrophe or two), I could only surmise that the commentor’s problem was with the lack of capitals.  Apparently, according to the commentor, the post was unprofessional.

Some of you may have noticed that I don’t use capitals when I comment or email in a social context.  I love not using capitals – there’s something about the informality of it that relaxes me.  I’ve done it almost since I first started using email (ahem – 13 years ago, dare I say), and it has become a part of me.  In all other respects, I follow standard grammatical rules, but no capitals means fun for me and is a part of my self-expression.

That’s why I think it’s sad that the person who had originally written the post had not been understood in this context.  It felt to me that their personal expression was being criticised (and criticised quite sharply, I have to say).  However, I also take on board what the commentor was saying about a lack of capitals appearing unprofessional, and that writers need to adjust to their audience (something that is a basic tenet of the writer’s life).

Does anyone else have any thoughts on the use of capitals?


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen Collins
    Jun 16, 2010 @ 20:26:46

    I’d be interested to visit the site, to see how the non-use of capitals makes me feel. I prefer ‘minimal’ capitalisation as a stylistic choice, but still acknowledge the conventional rules surrounding the use of capitals. Too many capitals in text bothers me, whereas once it didn’t . . . I don’t like the use of capitals in headings at all (except for the first word of course, or where convention dictates). One example of a word, where traditionally a capital was always used is the word ‘government’ . . I love that style these days promotes lower case . . . .


    • J-A Brock
      Jun 26, 2010 @ 23:18:51

      Imagine a paragraph without capitals and you’ll get the idea. Interesting that you don’t like capitals in headings, Karen. If I see that approach in reports etc it looks a bit odd! And that’s despite my preference for lower case elsewhere. Just goes to show what you’re used to has a big say in this.


  2. Ben Godby
    Jun 25, 2010 @ 02:43:23

    Although it might not be readily apparent–what with the capitals–I love writing in lowercase letters. I think I’ve recently been scared away from it by the likes of characters such as the commentator you mention above: those who suggest that to deviate from standard written style is “unprofessional.”

    I suppose I can bite my tongue and hold the SHIFT key now and again–but I’m still counting the days until it pays off!



    • J-A Brock
      Jun 26, 2010 @ 23:15:12

      It’s such a shame, isn’t it? I began responding to your comment without capitals, Ben, capitals, then realised what I’d done and deleted it. There are people who have dropped capitals from their names, so for some people it’s perfectly acceptable. Now, there’s a thought …


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