I spend a considerable amount of my time writing. This can be anything from an ISO manual, to a blog, or website content. This is not a bad thing. I really enjoy writing and I’m sure one day I will finish the novel that I never get a chance to start… However, I have discovered that I’ve now also become an editor. Many of my peers, colleagues, and superiors will ask me to give their essay, cover letter, or email a “once-over” before submission and, perhaps because of this, I’ve found that wherever I go I spot spelling or grammatical errors from a mile away.
My previous post on the correct use of the apostrophe has proved to be rather popular, so I have decided to continue the Copywriting Nightmare theme with another of my little pet peeves – capital letters.
So, lets go over the basics:
1. Use a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence, always.
2. A capital letter should always be used for the word “I”, and for proper nouns (people, places and related things).
London, Shakespeare, Shakespearian, Fiona, etc…
3. Capitalise titles of books, films, organisations and holidays.
4. Capitalise abbreviations.
5. Capitalise days of the week and months of the year.
6. Capitalise family relationships when used as proper nouns.
“He is my Uncle Tom and I see my uncle regularly.”
7. Unless you are Christian Grey, you are very angry at someone, or it is for a specific purpose, you should never write in all capitals (shouty caps).
There will always be a tricky one to throw you off course. Some organisations like eBay use a lower case letter at the start of their name. In the middle of a sentence you would write “eBay” but if starting a sentence with the name of the company it becomes “EBay”. Even online e-commerce giants can’t change the rules of capitalisation!