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Using Proper English

  1. cloverleaffarm profile image73
    cloverleaffarmposted 4 years ago

    It bothers me to see hubs with improper titles. By this, I mean a title such as " How to run a campaign", or "How to paint a table".
    Does anyone else see the problem here? Yes, you guessed it. The title is not title case. It is actually just a sentence.  If I run across them in the Hopper, I thumb them down. I won't even read them.
    I do understand that English is not everyone's first language, but if you are going to write in a language, one should have the grasp of it. I have seen some questions such as "Would me write a hub on .....insert topic here. The proper use of pronouns is important.

    1. peeples profile image87
      peeplesposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      While that how to title may not be proper English, it is the phrase being searched for in search engines. I am with you on the "Would me write a hub on" type of thing, but a title that is picked because it is the main thing searched on a topic, well I find that a bit smarter than trying to make sure a title makes other hubbers happy. This site is for gaining search engine traffic.

      1. cloverleaffarm profile image73
        cloverleaffarmposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        While it is important to gain search engine traffic, it is important to write correctly too. I thought this site was for writers, and writers use title case. Just for example...in one of the questions today, I saw a fellow hubber, who supposedly just graduated from college write in all lower case letters. No capitalization at the beginning of a sentence. The only capitals that were used were to emphasize something. This coming from someone who was an English major, and is looking to become a writer.

        1. Millionaire Tips profile image87
          Millionaire Tipsposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          It is quite possible that your college graduate has a medical condition that makes it hard for them to capitalize.  I would vote down a hub that doesn't use capital letters, but in an answer, I would go ahead and answer.  Don't judge so harshly.   If it offends you so much, ignore it and don't answer.

          1. cloverleaffarm profile image73
            cloverleaffarmposted 4 years ago in reply to this

            I did not answer the question. What medical condition could stop people from using capitals?

    2. SmartAndFun profile image92
      SmartAndFunposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Those titles are proper English, they're just not title case. Title case is not mandatory for article titles. It is simply one option for writing/displaying a title. Title case is easier to read than all caps, but is more difficult to read than lower case. The editor at the newspaper where I write has started using lower case (only first word capped) in all headlines. According to her, it is more proper and is the trend in the news industry today.

      I think it is unfair of you to vote articles down without reading them, basing your vote solely on what type of capitalization the writers have used in headlines. It may have nothing at all to do with the writers' grasp of English. Perhaps they simply don't like the messy, distracting look of too many capped letters.

      1. cloverleaffarm profile image73
        cloverleaffarmposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Using title case is a form of using proper English. Do you see books in a store using lower case letters? Go to any library and see how many writers use lower case for the titles of their books. Perhaps you could look through a magazine. Magazine writers use title case. Why? It is proper English.

        1. Hollie Thomas profile image61
          Hollie Thomasposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          Have you read the Guardian newspaper lately?

        2. Hollie Thomas profile image61
          Hollie Thomasposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          Not necessarily. There are options, and I think you might find that amongst the quality press lower case is the order of the day, not upper case. You will, however, find the first letter of a title in upper case in gutter press publications.

      2. Niteriter profile image79
        Niteriterposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        I'm taking bets on how long it will take your editor to make it to The Washington Post. big_smile

        1. cloverleaffarm profile image73
          cloverleaffarmposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          Cheers to you Niteriter. No newspaper, worth it's weight is going to use that form of writing.

          1. Judi Bee profile image87
            Judi Beeposted 4 years ago in reply to this
            1. Niteriter profile image79
              Niteriterposted 4 years ago in reply to this

              Sigh... The more I see pride in high standards give way to laziness and convenience, the more I want to go sit in the park.

      3. Millionaire Tips profile image87
        Millionaire Tipsposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        I agree with SmartAndFun, capitalizing the title is actually a personal preference. While capitalizing the first letter is standard, not capitalizing it is not wrong, and I too think it should not be voted down unless it actually has something wrong with it. not something that simply boils down to your personal preference.

        I often wondered if I should capitalize the smaller words, like A and The, in a title.  Word review tells me not to, but I often see them in Exclusive Titles, etc. My own titles aren't consistent with each other, as I waver back and forth.

        1. cloverleaffarm profile image73
          cloverleaffarmposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          It is not my personal preference. It is what one learns in writing 101 class.

          1. Niteriter profile image79
            Niteriterposted 4 years ago in reply to this

            Many online writers skipped "Writing 101" and went straight to "Overnight Riches 102", an online course that requires no credentials other than a valid credit card number!

            1. cloverleaffarm profile image73
              cloverleaffarmposted 4 years ago in reply to this

              Perhaps it is a "new" English, like the "new" Math that they tried to introduce back in the day. smile One will never had riches without credentials.

              1. wilderness profile image95
                wildernessposted 4 years ago in reply to this

                There is actually some validity to that.  My English classes are 40 years out of date and things have changed - I would have flunked any paper with "learnt" on it and still find the word odd and a sign that the writer can't spell.

                Add in that not all hubbers are from the US, even though their first language is English, and you have additional differences as we all write for a global audience. 

                As far as title case, check around through a dozen "experts" and you will find someone somewhere that will agree with nearly any method you like to use.

    3. nightwork4 profile image61
      nightwork4posted 4 years ago in reply to this

      i never worry about my grammar so don't even waste your time reading my hubs if you are that picky. i'm not here to be Mr. Proper, i'm here to write down my thoughts.

      1. Niteriter profile image79
        Niteriterposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        If you wanted to be a baseball player, you'd be expected to know the difference between the ball and the bat. If you want to be a writer it's no less important to know the function of the various tools.

      2. MelissaBarrett profile image60
        MelissaBarrettposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        The problem with that is that no one else can understand your thoughts if you have poor grammar.  If they can understand them then often they will discount anything you say because poor grammar gives the impression of lack of intelligence.  It also inconveniences the reader by making them decrypt your writing.  For the most part the average reader doesn't care enough about what you are saying to go through the trouble.

        So I guess the question is why even bother to write online?  If you are writing solely for yourself then write however you like.  If you are writing to be read why would you wish to alienate your reader?

        The title thing IS a bit anal as there are several correct ways to write a title depending on which style guide you are using and the medium that the work is appearing in.

  2. SmartAndFun profile image92
    SmartAndFunposted 4 years ago
    1. Niteriter profile image79
      Niteriterposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      An individual's blog is hardly an authoritative source to quote for writing standards. There is indeed a protocol for article titles in professional circles and failing to adhere to form is not a matter of personal choice if you hope to gain credibility as a writer.

      1. SmartAndFun profile image92
        SmartAndFunposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        And random people on the hubpages forum are more authoritive sources?

        All I'm trying to say is that there is more than one acceptable headline design method, and the the OP should not vote articles down that sif she has not read them.

        1. Niteriter profile image79
          Niteriterposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          I understood what you are trying to say when I read your first post. You'd never get your idea to fly in a journalism school but you're free to say anything you like online. I wish you good fortune with your writing career... and I mean that.

        2. cloverleaffarm profile image73
          cloverleaffarmposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          I've been writing for 42 years. I am not some "random" person here on Hubpages.

          1. SmartAndFun profile image92
            SmartAndFunposted 4 years ago in reply to this

            So far, every poster on this thread is writing here under a pseudonym. Sorry, but that makes us all "random." I don't know who you are and you don't know who I am. Nothing personal.

            I think most of us have probably been writing for many years and all have worthwhile contributions to add to this discussion. You guys didn't like my source, but at least I supplied one that shows I am not the only journalist/writer out there who thinks there is more than one acceptable way to design a headline.

            Please don't vote down articles that you have not read.

      2. cloverleaffarm profile image73
        cloverleaffarmposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Thumbs up to you, Niteriter. At least someone else understands that there are rules, and you just can't go off willy nilly.

        1. Niteriter profile image79
          Niteriterposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          Ha ha! I like your style! Going off willy nilly is something I engage in only when I think no one is looking! Thumbs up to you as well for sticking to your guns.

          1. cloverleaffarm profile image73
            cloverleaffarmposted 4 years ago in reply to this

            Thank you. They can write as they wish. They are only hurting themselves, and any possible future career. Have a great day.

  3. Uninvited Writer profile image83
    Uninvited Writerposted 4 years ago

    It is a choice, neither one is wrong... Here is what the Chicago Manual of Style says

    8.166Sentence style
    In sentence-style capitalization only the first word in a title, the first word in a subtitle, and any proper names are capitalized. This style is commonly used in reference lists (see chapter 16) and library catalogs. It is also useful in works whose section headings are very long or in works whose headings include terms (such as species names) that require their own internal capitalization. For quotations as titles, see 8.171.

    8.167Headline style
    The conventions of headline style, admittedly arbitrary, are governed by a mixture of aesthetics (the appearance of a title on a printed page), emphasis, and grammar. Some words are always capitalized; some are always lowercased (unless used as the first or last word in a title); others require a decision. Chicago recommends the following rules, pragmatic rather than logically rigorous but generally accepted: (1) Always capitalize the first and last words both in titles and in subtitles and all other major words (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and some conjunctions—but see rule 4). (2) Lowercase the articles the, a, and an. (3) Lowercase prepositions, regardless of length, except when they are stressed (through in A River Runs Through It), are used adverbially or adjectivally (up in Look Up, down in Turn Down, on in The On Button, etc.), are used as conjunctions (before in Look Before You Leap, etc.), or are part of a Latin expression used adjectivally or adverbially (De Facto, In Vitro, etc.). (4) Lowercase the conjunctions and, but, for, or, nor. (5) Lowercase the words to and as in any grammatical function, for simplicity’s sake. (6) Lowercase the second part of a species name, such as lucius in Esox lucius, or the part of a proper name that would be lowercased in text, such as de or von.

  4. Judi Bee profile image87
    Judi Beeposted 4 years ago

    Uninvited Writer beat me to it. 

    Sentence case is acceptable for titles; my local newspaper is in front of me and it uses this style and I know that many UK publications such as The Times use this convention. 

    It appears that this is not universally used in the US, but that doesn't mean that everyone else is wrong.

    There is more on the subject here:  http://grammar.about.com/od/grammarfaq/ … stitle.htm

  5. SmartAndFun profile image92
    SmartAndFunposted 4 years ago

    My thanks to Uninvited Writer and JudiBee for finding more authoritative sources than the writers' blog I linked to.

  6. Eric Vu Tran profile image59
    Eric Vu Tranposted 4 years ago

    I'd appreciate some feed back from grammar nazi on my first hub.  I just could never get the hang of proper grammer.  I have no idea why!  I just found it boring and was more interested in math and science.  I aced french in highschool and college.

  7. kathleenkat profile image90
    kathleenkatposted 4 years ago

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_di … h_language

    There are literally hundreds of dialects within the English language.

    Who are you to decide which dialect is the 'proper' one in which to write? There are many differences between spelling, pronounciation, word useage, etc. between dialects. As long as they are consistent, and getting their meaning accross, it doesn't bother me.

  8. SaritaJBonita profile image81
    SaritaJBonitaposted 4 years ago

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!  I'm not bothered by capital letters/lack of capitals, etc.  Poor grammar just drives me crazy!  Maybe it's just me, but spell check exists for a reason!!!  It's easier to write correctly than it is to make mistakes!  I just don't get it.

    I don't vote Hubs down simply because of grammatical errors, but I do stop reading them if the errors occur often enough.  It's irritating to have to fix it as I read. Why should I read something by an author that is too lazy to proofread? 

    Seriously....

 
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