"I like good strong words that mean something."- Louisa May Alcott
Posted on August 28, 2008 @ 2:45 pm by

We are in love with capital letters. One of the most consistent style problem I encounter is the tendency to capitalize anything that the writer believes is important.

These important words are no longer just proper names or countries. They include words like Internet, Email and terms like Strategic Planning and Gross Profits.

Im not a nit-picky editor (nit picky editors dont use terms like nit picky). Its not the rules about capitalization that Im going to quote here. I change capital letters to lower case because of the problems they cause with style consistency.

As soon as you start capitalizing everything in sight, it becomes impossible to be consistent (for example, if you capitalize Gross Profits, do you capitalize regular profits? And what about losses?)

My advice is stick to the good old rules of style and grammar. Capitalize proper names, names of places and titles. If you are in doubt, refer to any style guide. As your final check, do not capitalize words just because you think they are important. Put them in bold face, or italics. Or better yet, write so that your reader instinctively believes they are important.

Beth Parker
Professional Writer

President, CAWEE
Canadian Association of Women Executives & Entrepreneurs
June 2008-June 2010

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Comments (2)
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