Down with capitalism

I am fed up with misplaced capitals – get rid of them where possible.

It’s lower case for seasons, points of the compass, but upper for proper nouns, full titles of organisations, names of companies and organisations, political parties, trade names, books, films, publications.

It’s small ‘i’ for internet, worldwide web, the government, descriptive job titles as in communications director, but capitals when a formal title as is President of XYZ organisation, thereafter president. Go small whenever you can.

The trend in modern English usage is to avoid unnecessary initial capitals. Very few words are true proper nouns and really need an initial capital. Some words which used to start with a capital (the seasons are a good example) no longer do.

Avoid too many capital letters in a sequence, as they are difficult to read.

Capitals can have a punctuating effect that hinder the smooth flow of the eye over the words. Compare the distracting:

Factors that May Affect the Success of the Strategy


Factors that may affect the success of the strategy

Derbysire County Council needs initial capitals, but the council, county council, local councillors don’t.

• Council Tax doesn’t need initial caps, council tax is fine.

Job titles should be lower case: chief executive, head of communications etc. This rule applies in body text (‘Robert Smith, head of communications, spoke at the meeting…’) where the title is descriptive of the work or position of the individual. However, in formal situations (addressing envelopes, signing off correspondence etc), job titles should be capitalised where lower case would look wrong, thus:

Chief Executive, Derbyshire Building Society

Initial capitals can be used for the names of specific departments, committees, teams etc, when they are referred to in full. For example: Performance Management Board, but subsequent references to the department or the committee should be lower case.

Avoid blocks of capitals LIKE THIS WHICH ARE HARD TO READ.


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