The Write Stuff
Fall 2010 Volume 6 Issue 4
A Capital Offense
Seldom a day goes by that I don’t see an example or two of people capitalizing words for seemingly no reason. Proper nouns are always capitalized, while common nouns aren’t unless they start a sentence.
- Proper noun examples: San Jose Sharks, Chicago, Adrienne Moch, Western Illinois University and Cafe Coyote
- Common noun examples: hockey team, city, writer, school and restaurant
Off-topic tip: Use your newsletter to let people know you better. Long-time readers probably “get” the first four proper noun references; Old Town San Diego’s Cafe Coyote is included because its phone number is just one digit different from mine…so I field a lot of calls for reservations.
As for our “capital question,” here are a few things not to do:
Don’t capitalize words with the intent of emphasizing them.
- Wrong: Can you believe Thanksgiving is Next Week?
- Right: Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?
- Also Right: Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?
Don’t capitalize common nouns that refer to specific institutions.
- Wrong: My Company just bought a new computer.
- Right: My company just bought a new computer.
Don’t use all caps unless you want people to feel yelled at, especially if you’ve got the caps lock key engaged for more than one sentence.
- Wrong: I’VE JUST DISCOVERED THE WORLD OF ICHAT. NOW I CAN “SEE” MY NIECE AND NEPHEW ANYTIME.
- Right: I’ve just discovered the world of iChat. Now I can “see” my niece and nephew anytime.
Don’t fight with your writing; hire me to help you out! Learn more at adriennemoch.com or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (619) 291-4645