Making sense of capitalisation: week 1 - the three case systems
Updated: Apr 8, 2020
Do you struggle with title case vs. sentence case? Do you have a reputation for random mid-sentence capitalisation? OR DO YOU JUST SHOUT EVERYTHING YOU WRITE?
If you answered yes to any of the above then this series of posts is for you!
There are three case systems, and we'll get started with those.
Sentence case is the standard case used in English writing whereby only the first word of the sentence is capitalised, as well as any proper nouns (the name of a particular person, place, organisation, or thing).
Also known as headline or header style, or capital case, title case is the capitalisation of all words except for certain minor words such as 'of', 'and', 'or', 'the', etc. There is a variant of this where all words are capitalised.
All caps can be used for headlines and book or chapter titles at the top of a book page, or in an email when you're REALLY, REALLY ANGRY and you want to show it. It can also be used in transcribed text to indicate shouting. All caps is more difficult to read due to the lack of ascenders and descenders found in lower case letters (i.e. the up stick of a letter d or the down stick of a letter p) which help with letter recognition and tracking. In professional and academic texts, a preferred alternative is the use of small caps, italics or bold to emphasise key names or acronyms.
I hope this article has made things clearer for you. If you are still feeling baffled, consider having your writing proofread by a professional like me.
Over the coming weeks, we'll discuss all you need to know about capitalisation.
Week 5: academic texts (headings, bullets, lists and quotations)
Week 6: common mistakes
If there's anything I haven't covered and you'd like to know more, please leave a note in the comments or get in touch at email@example.com