Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Editor sounds off

some of my young colleagues in the tech industry affect a writing style for email that's devoid of capital letters. when i get messages from them, i'm never sure whether to be offended (because they can't be bothered to reach for the shift key) or flattered (because it's the way they write to other hip young things). at the moment, i'm amused.

Unable to recall the rules for capitalization in the real world, they apply initial caps with a heavy hand. While editing content for a website recently, I got to deal with gems like "big Savings for new Members" and "take advantage of this Limited-Time Offer."

If that is the way they think capitals work, I can see why they aren't using them. There were paragraphs that looked liked 18th century poets had come back from the dead and were working in marketing.

Editorial note: using an initial cap for concepts such as "savings" is called personification. An example is: Big Business. Personification conveys a poetic or ironic flavor, and should be used sparingly.

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