What People Think When You Type in All Caps
People who type in all capital letters are often an irritant to others who are reading what they have written. This may not be fair but it’s the case. That’s because there are a lot of assumptions that people make about what it means that someone is typing in ALL CAPS. We don’t have the benefit of being able to read body language when reading something online so we have to do what we can to infer a person’s meaning based just on the words they’ve shared and the way that they’ve written them. We might be making the wrong inferences but there are some common things that we are likely to believe if someone has sent us a message in all caps.
Here are some of the assumptions that people will make when you send them an email (or write an article) that is entirely capitalized:
• People think a message in all caps means that the writer is yelling at them. The traditional thing that “all caps” writing has come to mean on the Internet is that you are doing this because you want to convey a tone similar to yelling. A message or article that is written entirely in capital letters is jarring to look at because we don’t typically receive messages that look this way. This is comparable to hearing yelling when what we normally hear is quiet speech. The message that is sent in ALL CAPS comes across as yelling or threatening. This will often cause people to react to the message negatively out of a defensive posture even if the actual words that are in the message are not angry. The situation is exacerbated when the content of the written piece is negative or angry because this fuels the fire of “yelling” that appears to be going on here.
• People assume that the writer is trying to demand attention. Even if the message of an ALL CAPS piece of writing isn’t considered to be received in a manner similar to yelling, it does tend to create the feeling that the person who has written it really wants to get some attention. This is mainly due to the fact that the writing is different from the norm. The same would be true if the writing were in a very strange font, a much larger size than normal or a color other than black. Often, in writing, we will use bold or ALL CAPS lettering to make a particular point stand out. If we use bold or ALL CAPS writing for the entire piece then we are sending the message that the entire piece should stand out. This can irritate someone who doesn’t understand why you are demanding their attention to this piece of writing.
• People may assume that you have a lack of skill with technology. The standard method of writing online these days is through the traditional use of a combination of lowercase and capital letters. If you choose not to conform to this method then the people who read what you are writing may assume that you are not familiar with the standard etiquette of the technology that you are using. If you write in all lower case letters or ALL CAPS then people may think that you don’t really know how to use a computer properly even if that’s not the case at all.
• People may assume that you are an immature writer. In addition to believing that you may not use technology properly, people reading your work may assume that you don’t know the proper methods of capitalization and that this is why you choose to write in ALL CAPS. This can be damaging if you are interested in building up a reputation for your writing. People may fail to take the content of your writing seriously because they believe that you don’t know how to write.
• People may assume that you are lazy. Another reason that someone might choose to write in all caps is that they don’t want to bother with changing back and forth between lower case and capital letters. This can be viewed as lazy by the person that is reading your message.
• People may wonder if you are trying to be a rebel. This is just one of those issues of non-conformity. When you opt to do things in a way that other people are not doing them, you draw attention to yourself. Some of this will be negative attention from people who do not understand why you will not conform to the way that things are done. If you don’t want to be seen as someone who breaks the rules or ignores convention then you shouldn’t write in all capital letters.
Many of these assumptions are probably not actually the case for most people who are writing in ALL CAPS. There may be any number of reasons that you would choose to write in ALL CAPS including simply that you find it more aesthetically pleasing. However, it is a fact that many people will make these negative assumptions about you if you do write emails and articles without using proper lower case and capitalization in your writing. As a result, it is probably best to drop the ALL CAPS writing and write in the traditional form in order to generate more positive online relationships with others. Plus this allows you to really make your point come through when you have something truly urgent to say and you want to say it with an ALL CAPS message.
- PlayFirst® - Why does my mom type in ALL CAPS? - PlayFirst Grapevine
- ALL CAPS - Encyclopedia Dramatica
- Rands In Repose: ALL CAPS Killed the Exclamation Point
- All caps - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Use All Caps with the Right Fonts - Rules of Desktop Publishing
Stop shouting. Online TYPING IN ALL CAPS is considered shouting and is frowned on in most cases. In print, shouting is never worse than when it is done with decorative or script typefaces. Its ugly. Its hard to read. Just dont do it, PLEASE!
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