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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Ruthe

Confessions: we need to talk about capital letters

Yes, I'm about to dedicate an entire posts to the "when and where" of capital letters!

Confessions of a copywriter panel, with the title "We need to talk about capital letters".

Capital letters are fickle things.

I'm a professional writer, and even I have to double-check when and where to use them. Because capital letters aren't just about learning rules, they are a matter of personal and organisational preference.

Use them too much AND IT FEELS LIKE YOU'RE SHOUTING. Which is great. If you're trying to be loud and want to scream at someone, but not so much if you're not. (The only other exception I'll make is my dad, when his phone gets stuck on caps lock).

Then there's title case - you know, the one where major words are capitalised and minor words (and, as, but, for, if, etc.) are kept in their rightful place. It see the logic, but spread title case out over a sentence, and Quite Frankly It All Starts to Look a Little Odd (and yes, I had to use an online Title Case Converter to check I'd got it right).

Then there's sentence case. That's cool. I can get on board with sentence case. But wait! Are we treating your new Policy as a proper noun? And what about a job titles? Or Member States?

Or ideas, like universal health coverage?

And what exactly is it, that you do after using a colon?

For reference, the standard rule is lower case, because you're continuing the sentence. Which is fine. Until it features in a title, or subheading. Then it starts to look a little like I've forgotten something. But I promise you I haven't!

Bullet points are also fun. Did you know it varies, according to the type of list you're creating? It's a true story. But fortunately unless your bullets are long, full sentences, once again, lower-case and a semi-colon (don't get me started on semi-colons) rule supreme. It's fine in a manuscript for long-form document, but when I see my beautiful bullet points blown up in print I can't help but think that lower-case and semi-colons looks to formal and academic. Give me a capital letters any day!

What else?

Ah HAH! Hashtags.

My friends, I know that in hashtag world, #ALLCAPS caps is cool, and #nocaps is too. But did you know that if you want to be accessible and easy to read, then actually #CamelCase is the best way to go? 🐪

Perhaps I'm over thinking it, but as writer (and by extension, a proofer) DETAILS MATTER. And when it comes to consistency checks, I assure you - I'm on it! 💪

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1 Comment

May 29

OK (or Ok or O.K., or o.k.)... so let's millenialise it all: 1. Personal style and 2. Consistency

Moreover, make a mental note of not becoming a copywriter, instead, hire an expert like Jen. Duly noted. Kirande

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