I remember a classmate in university who failed a test simply because she did not use proper capitalization. For some reason, at that time, it was a cool thing to write everything in small letters. Unfortunately for her, the professor didn’t think it was “cool” – she was given an automatic failing mark.
Today, it seems that the fashion of not using proper capitalization is making a comeback. For some, it may be borne out of ignorance or apathy. For freelance writers, there are no excuses. I did a little digging and found some common capitalization mistakes people make.
Is it okay to say ok?
“Okay” can function as an adjective or an adverb and is used to mean “all right.” It can be shortened to “OK,” with both letters capitalized. While “ok” is understandable and is considered to be non-standard usage by some, it is still more proper to capitalize both letters. Are you OK with that?
Here’s a piece of trivia that you may find cool (thanks to Merriam-Webster):
OK is the abbreviation of oll korrect, facetious alteration of all correct
First Known Use: 1839
Do you have any id?
This is a problem I always seem to have. For one reason or another, I forget to put ID cards back in my wallet, and I end up having to negotiate with whatever authority I am dealing with that day. Do take note of how I used that initial-letter abbreviation – we write “ID” and not “id.”
What about family relationships?
We all know that mother, father, aunt, uncle, etc. are all common nouns. So should we ever capitalize them? Well here are a couple of examples of when these words should be capitalized.
I tell my Aunt Lai everything.
She doesn’t want to live with Mother.
As you can see, in the above examples, the words are used as proper names and should thus be capitalized.
Of course, I cannot overlook title capitalization, but we already have a useful post on this topic – A Sense of Capital En-TITLE-ment. Do click on that link for more details.
You may be thinking – is capitalization really that important? Yesterday, I saw a hilarious tweet that I think will help convince you of the importance of using proper capitalization. WARNING: example may be a little crude for some. It does help drive the point home, though.
Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.
Photo credit: familymwr
Hahaha, that is absolutely hilarious and sad that tweet!
Debra Stang says
Okay, I did *not* need the visual that last sentence put in my mind, LOL.
I confess I’ve lower-cased OK a time or two, but mostly I think I get it right.