- Books, Literature, and Writing
Writing Tips and the use of Capital Letters - Please Stop Shouting at Me - Using Caps Lock
Using Caps Lock for Shouting or Emphasis
It is easy for those who are not familiar with the keyboard, to slip in to the habit of typing in capital letters. Pressing the ‘CAPS LOCK’ key makes it a simple process to write without thinking. For those still trying to find their way around the keyboard, holding the shift key to produce a capital at the start of a sentence may slow them down. It is even possible they are not aware that the shift key exists.
Please Stop Shouting at Me
Unfortunately, for the reader, seeing a block of words in capitals may translate as SHOUTING. While there is nothing pleasant about being shouted at verbally, from the written word, it can imply a number of different interpretations. Used sparingly, it is a reasonable way to emphasise a point, but used throughout a comment or article, leaves the writer with no other way to get the reader to sit up and take notice.
When do you use capital letters?
Computers Offer More Options
The most common explanation for using capital letters in any form, is to draw attention to a particular word or phrase. In days before the computer or word processor, options for emphasis were limited to the underline key or use of capital letters on the typewriter. There was no format for a bold print, nor a choice for italics .
Printed Books and Italics
It is true that printers had various options to stress words and phrases. Newspapers, magazines and books were published with emphasis through use of italics and bold print. Any author sitting at a typewriter, had limited choices.
Is the Author Really a Writer?
The moment a writer deviates from correct protocol there is a loss of credibility. Does this person know what they are doing? Are they really a writer? Typing with the ‘Caps Lock’ key on mode, is fine for anyone simply wanting to write from a personal perspective, but for a professional hoping to sell their content, it can portray shoddy work.
What if the piece is meant to be artistic or a show of creativity from the author? Poetic licence doesn't come in to play here. There are times when all that has been taught can be thrown to the winds. For a poet wanting to vent their passion or a script writer distinguishing dialogue from narration, the use of capitals is acceptable.
Titles Written in Capitals - How old is the Writer?
Protocols and formats for accepted writing styles, evolve over time. It was only thirty years ago, a title for a report would have been written in capitals and accepted as a professional piece. These are the tricks of the trade, taught in schools, for journalists and typists. Using capitals for titles provides the reader insight about the author. They are either older than thirty or not keeping up with the times. Self development is an important aspect of writing. Part of keeping the writing fresh and newsworthy, is ensuring it follows the formula set down in the current trends.
Want to Improve Your Writing?
Twitter's International Caps Lock Day
Twitter set up a specific day, named, International Caps Lock Day. This casual approach to writing, may be acceptable for the personal writer or tweeter. It can even be used in sending text messages if you want to shout your message. But is it appropriate for someone who is trying to be recognised for their craft?
Give your Writing that Professional Look
Pay Attention to Detail
Paying attention to detail, gives a professional look to your blog, e-mail or article. The more professional a piece of writing looks, the more chances there are of someone reading your work, past the title or opening sentence. In today’s world of Internet writing, this is essential. Capturing your audience, from those first moments, before they click away to someone else in Cyberspace, has never been more vital.
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© 2010 Karen Wilton