Real Writers Never Write Anything In All Small Letters

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small letters lower case

i get a lot of emails and messages from writers and authors

i also get book submissions along with book descriptions

but i get so annoyed when i get them written in all lowercase letters with little or no punctuation

its not only lazy its impolite

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very often its hard to tell if im being asked a question because there is no question mark

and run on sentences dont matter because there are no periods or full stops commas or any punctuation for that matter

can you imagine a writer not being bothered to use uppercase and lowercase

or small letters and big letters for those who find this small writing vocabulary easier

but they are often all too ready to locate the shift key to SHOUT AND GET ANNOYED

 

You can blame the smartphone

Yes, sure. The smartphone as a text tool is for expediency and the need for brevity are all too easy excuses.

If you call yourself a writer or an author, then you should have at least some self-respect. Clearly, some do not have any at all.

I would shudder in horror if I failed to use a capital letter for the first person pronoun, I. I would kick myself if I forgot the apostrophe in it’s.

I would be devastated if I missed a full stop at the end of a sentence. Well, a period for my American readers.

But for some writers, who cares about punctuation and capitalisation?

wordprocessing the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog works just fine without me having to bother with expending the energy to press the shift key or add full stops just to please YOU

Well, I’m sorry. That you can’t be bothered with type cases, really does bother me. I can suffer a missing comma easily, but with no capital letters or full stops, your utterances don’t make any sense.

It’s about as appealing as going to a dentist that you know doesn’t bother to wash their hands between patients.

 

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hello derek my name is john smith and im a brilliant writer

stupid

Dear John,

My name is a proper noun and it has a capital letter. There is one at the beginning of my first name, middle name and last name.

They have been there since I was born. I like them a lot.

So, I’m very sorry, um, john.

You might be too lazy to use uppercase letters for your own name, but I insist on them being used for mine.

Well, I think I could be just as lazy as you and not bother replying, other than to mention that upper and lower case letters and punctuation were invented for very good reasons.

By the way, you can call me Mr. if you like. The full stop is optional, but the capital M is not.

Really, how much effort does it take to press your shift key?

While I am sure John wouldn’t notice, I intentionally used uppercase and upper case. I could also have used upper-case.

But as he doesn’t use them, I am sure he wouldn’t take the time to investigate why all three are possible.

 

Language changes, but the alphabet does not

Capital Letters

The English language differs from some others. It is not a controlled language; it is a reported language.

In other words, it changes and evolves over time, and dictionaries and grammar reference guides are updated to reflect the changes in use, register and vocabulary.

For example. With whom did you go to the cinema? 

When I was at school, this was the correct way to ask this question. Now, however, it is a question form that is rarely used, and ending with a preposition is now perfectly acceptable.

Who did you go to the cinema with?

But dropping the capital W at the beginning of either question is not acceptable.

Online writing, messaging, or texting and emails have changed our language. The word texting is a new addition, along with blogging, friending and sexing things up.

Change brings richness and versatility as well as the ability to adapt to current realities or explain new concepts.

Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn all demonstrate the changes in the use and application of our language.

But there are some basics that do not change. The alphabet, and punctuation.

 

Speed kills your reputation as a writer

rushing

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Yes, I am getting a bit old in the tooth and I should understand that the world is now moving at a much faster pace.

There is a need for speed in everything we do.

Sending a quick message, a status update or mail to family, friends or work colleagues is faster with abbreviations, acronyms and text symbols.

But even cul8r, tgif or imo read better when capitalised. But small caps here or there, or not, hardly matters between friends.

What does matter is that when you call yourself a writer or author and write to be read, taking a lazy attitude to how you write can only result in demeaning, or killing your reputation as a writer.

When I receive an email or message from a writer who uses only lowercase letters, my first reaction is to shrug my shoulders and tag the message for a reply … one day, perhaps. But I probably won’t bother..

I have received a few emails and messages that were written in uppercase text. Well, being SHOUTED at is a great way to get me to do nothing at all.

Oddly enough, I cannot recall ever getting an email written in all title case. Well, not yet anyway.

In my mind, it is all about having pride in your work, and your reputation as a writer.

Sending me a book description with every word in lowercase will naturally make me think that it is not a book that is at all worth reading.

In most word processors, it is easy to set up simple auto-correct to capitalise sentences. You can even set small capital letters. Smartphones and tablets have similar settings.

It’s not that difficult to punctuate, even if you are lazy or in a desperate rush.

 

Real writers are never lazy with a single letter, or even a comma

I love writing, and I admire writers.

It is a passion, and for those who love our language, it is a creative art form.

Therefore, there is never a need to rush, hurry, take shortcuts or be lazy or disrespectful.

Writers write and give consideration to every almost every letter, hyphen and comma they write.

Those who do not, are not writers, even if they call themselves one.

A final note. Please excuse my sarcasm in this article. I know it is considered the lowest form of wit, but there are times when I simply can’t resist.

 

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Derek Haines

Webmaster and Writer at Just Publishing Advice
A Cambridge qualified CELTA English teacher and author of 18 books with a life long passion for publishing in all its forms.
I started my working life as a lithographer and then spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of the Alps.
Derek Haines
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Derek Haines

A Cambridge qualified CELTA English teacher and author of 18 books with a life long passion for publishing in all its forms. I started my working life as a lithographer and then spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business. Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of the Alps.

5 thoughts on “Real Writers Never Write Anything In All Small Letters

  • September 28, 2019 at 1:21 am
    Permalink

    You are right of course. I write prose but I also write prose/poetry where I believe one can take liberties. Traditional punctuation looks plain weird in poetry when I am attempting to come up with an offbeat idea in an offbeat way. But it is not a blanket tool. I still use fullstops, commas etc. and I would not use “i” for myself. I am far too serious! You would be enraged by the frequent use of “&” and //// I guess. Poetry has a visual form that requires stretching the possibilities of the keyboard. Thanks for the article.

    Reply
    • September 28, 2019 at 11:15 am
      Permalink

      You can certainly use poetic licence, Bonny. Being creative is totally different from being lazy.

      Reply
  • July 19, 2018 at 2:19 pm
    Permalink

    The Romans used all upper case, no punctuation, no space between words and word order in sentence irrelevant. They did OK with it I suppose. That poet e e cummings did it his way and was successful too.

    Reply
  • July 19, 2018 at 1:14 pm
    Permalink

    I’m in total agreement with you, Derek!

    Reply

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