Capital letters matter. Please use them properly.

Using capital letters correctly isn’t rocket science. Most of us get taught the basics of how to use them at school, and it’s reasonably straightforward.

You know, you should start  names and titles with capital letters. You should capitalise the word “I”. That sort of thing.

Ok, so  it’s not quite that simple in practice. In fact, it can be quite complex. There are lots of exceptions to rules, and lots of situations where the rules aren’t perfectly defined.

For instance, I usually capitalise only the first letter of the first word in a title. Others reckon that’s just plain wrong, and capitalise the first letter of every word.

In that sort of situation, I honestly don’t think it really matters what you do, as long as you’re consistent. So you should adopt a convention and stick to it.

Getting it wrong makes you look silly

Some people seem to get capital letters hopelessly wrong. Because they’re not sure how to use them, they insert them haphazardly, hoping that at least some of them will turn out to be correct.

day ThreeThis approach doesn’t work. Rather like the greengrocer’s apostrophe, it tends to make you look a bit silly.

Random capital letters just create ungainly speedbumps in otherwise perfectly normal sentences.

Check out these examples. The first one’s from the Evening Standard. Ok, English isn’t the new owner’s first language, but what on earth is so important about day Three that it needed capitalising?

building SitesI spotted the second outside a building site right near where I live.

If anyone can explain the difference between building sites and building Sites, I’d much appreciate it. Really, I would.

Who’s with me?

What I’m saying is simple. Capital letters matter. So use them properly. To start with, maybe stop inserting them into sentences at random.

Perhaps we need a group to campaign for the correct use of capital letters. Like the Apostrophe Protection Society and Beard Liberation Front (note the capital letters), we’d campaign on an issue that really matters.

Who’s with me?

3 responses to “Capital letters matter. Please use them properly.”

  1. Jack says:


    Good blog entry!

    Doesn’t the word ‘Web’ (as in Web page) always need a capital letter?



  2. sarah says:

    Agreed! One of my friends updates her Facebook nearly every hour which in itself is annoying, but she uses random capital letters in every update! My eye catches the word and my brain wants to find the significance, only to realize she is simply randomly hitting her caps lock key, or purposely holding down shift (one can never know). I really want to comment on her use of caps but I can’t find a way without being insulting, or worse, having her miss the point entirely. ie: Please stop Using caps When you type it’s quite annoying, Thank you. She may read that as normal!
    Ah well, I guess we all have our idiosyncrasies. Thanks for giving me a place to vent.

  3. Melanie says:

    I agree. We need a Capital Letter Protection Society.

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