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This fun “holiday”, established in 2011, plays with language in a way that makes texters happy. Today, capital letters are ignored in favor of using lowercase letters.
I’m actually one who observes traditional grammar and punctuation when I text. I did briefly consider typing this post all in lowercase, to celebrate national lowercase day. However, that thought truly was brief. As you can see, I opted for the usual.
To appreciate the day, I offer instead rules to help stop overcapitalizing. Capital letters are appropriate for specific uses, such as beginning a sentence, proper names and titles. Many writers tend to overuse them though. The following tips will help.
E. E. Cummings
Before posting rules to prevent overusing capital letters, I must mention poet E. E. Cummings. This man appreciated lowercase letters!
E. E. Cummings often wrote his poems all in lowercase and frequently omitted punctuation as well.
Edward Estlin Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1894. He attended high school there, where he studied Latin and Greek. He later graduated with a BA and MA from Harvard. Cummings is regarded as one of the most innovative and creative poets of his time. He experimented with poetic form and language, ultimately creating his own distinctive writing style.
Cummings used lowercase letters in his poems, along with invented words and words used in nontraditional ways. He also created visually intriguing patterns across the page with his words. By his death in 1962, E. E. Cummings was recognized as a great lyrical poet who made experimental poetry attractive to readers.
Words to Stop Capitalizing
Using capital letters and lowercase letters correctly matters, unless, like E. E. Cummings, your writing style is considered innovative. For the rest of us, proper usage makes us look smarter and more professional and polished. Plus, the message we hope to convey comes through, without the distraction caused by misuse of capital and lowercase letters.
Here are easy to learn rules, about when to use lowercase and when to use capital letters.
Directions such as east and west are not capitalized, unless they are used in an address. Directional words in addresses are typically abbreviated anyway.
Correct: 1234 W. Happy Street or 5678 West Highway 32
Incorrect: 1234 w. Happy Street or 5678 west Highway 32
Correct: I’m driving east on Main Street.
Incorrect: I’m driving East on Main Street.
In the same way, seasons are written in lowercase as well, unless they are part of a title or event.
Correct: I love spring!
Incorrect: I love Spring!
Correct: I’m attending the Downtown Fall Festival Saturday.
Incorrect: I’m attending the Downtown fall Festival Saturday.
Words for events such as birthday, anniversary and party are not capitalized, unless they are included with someone’s name as a special occasion.
Correct: I hope you have a fun anniversary!
Incorrect: I hope you have a fun Anniversary!
Correct: You are invited to Molly’s 13th Birthday Party.
Incorrect: You are invited to Molly’s 13th birthday party.
Correct: Happy Birthday, George!
Incorrect: Happy birthday, George!
Correct: Have a happy birthday, George.
Incorrect: Have a Happy Birthday, George.
Job Titles and Careers
Job titles use lowercase, unless they come before your name.
Correct: I’m a professor at the university.
Incorrect: I’m a Professor at the university.
Correct: I’m Professor Anderson.
Incorrect: I’m professor Anderson.
Careers don’t require capital letters, typically, unless used in a title.
Correct: Bart is a writer.
Incorrect: Bart is a Writer.
Correct: Bart is attending the SW Missouri Writer’s Conference.
Incorrect: Bart is attending the SW Missouri writer’s conference.
Important Sounding Words
Sometimes, to show the importance of a word, we capitalize when we should use lowercase.
Correct: I majored in business in college.
Incorrect: I Majored in Business in college.
Correct: Karen is a big supporter of pet rescue agencies.
Incorrect: Karen is a big Supporter of Pet Rescue Agencies.
Correct: Karen is a supporter of the Pet Rescue Agency of Dallas.
Incorrect: Karen is a Supporter of the pet rescue agency of Dallas.
Happy national lowercase day
Writing certainly has standardized rules. Those rules about grammar, punctuation and upper and lowercase letters help us to make sense of the words we write and read.
However, it is also true that every writer has his or her own unique style. I hope these tips help in your every day messages and social media posts, as you develop your own personal writing style.
Now, can we discuss punctuation and run on sentences?
Check out this website, to see how well you do using capital and lowercase letters.
And try this fun five sentence writing challenge!
E. E. Cummings for national lowercase day:
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50 Replies to “national lowercase day”
Great article, something we can all improve on. I found it very informative and inspiring.
Keep up the hard work Cindy……
Thanks for your input and encouragement Zac!
Thank you for this. I tend to be a bit obsessive over grammar, to the point of always using a grammar tool (Grammarly). I didn’t know some of these rules, so thank you for the reminders. I am happy that my kids are both learning proper grammar in school, now I have to make sure they use it. That may be the hard part.
We made up some games when our kids were young to help them remember. And we had a few simple rules. For example none of us were allowed lazy speech. We could say “thing”. We figured out the correct word or the descriptive word instead. 😃
Great post Cindy! English and grammar was my best subject in school, and I see I do for the most part follow the rules. Thanks for sharing and giving us this refresher course!
Thanks for your kind comments!
I like the rules of grammar and enjoyed reading through all of these. Sometimes, I get them wrong but I loved learning these!
We are all learning! Glad you enjoyed.
Ah this was cool. I am stickler for the lower case thing myself – loved reading about this!
e e cummings is one of my all time favorites and i’m so tickled you mentioned him here.
I love his poetry!
I have definitely been guilty of Winter vs winter! Thanks for this great article 🙂
I’m glad it was helpful!
What a fun and informative article! I did not know that this day existed.
There are so many great unique holidays!
I’m sure I’ve made plenty of these mistakes (even in my adult life, when I was supposed to know better).
I just want you to know that I’m so much more likely to remember lessons like this than I ever will by reading style guides and text books.
The idiosyncrasies of language rules seem to linger in my brain much longer when they’re tied to real-life events and examples like yours.
Thank You! *wink*
Thank you Matt! And I learn better that way too. 😃
Guilty! I’ve definitely used a capital letter incorrectly. Thanks for the great tips!
Glad it was helpful!
The English language is so challenging sometimes.
I never realized how challenging until I started homeschooling my boys. 😅
Maybe I’ll make this post part of their curriculum! 😉
Ha ha! I understand though. I homeschooled my kids and filled in gaps in my own education.
gotta say i Fall into the category of capitalizing Seasons incorrectly. thank you for the tips and hopefully i can improve my writing skills 🙂
Thanks for stopping by!
I really liked reading this! The way you shared it is a great way for me to retain this info! Thanks!
I love E.E. Cummings. This post is a good reference for writers. Thanks for writing it.
I Am A Chronic Over Capitalizer! I just can’t stop myself! LOL. It drives my Mom crazy, but I LOVE IT!!! I don’t think I could live in a world where there was not shift key. 🙂
And that’s fine! It’s your style!
This is really informative… thank you for posting. My son and I are working on knowing lower case letters and this was a fun read.
Oh, my grammar-loving heart enjoyed this post thoroughly! The capitalization of seasons and directions drives me bonkers!
It’s a very common error, isn’t it?
Very informative article. I’m guilty of this at times and these tips are a great reminder. Thank you for sharing.
Glad it was helpful!
My kids call me old fashioned because I use proper punctuation and capitalization when texting.
Mine make fun of me! 😃
Fun post! E. E. Cummings is my all time favorite poet. He makes lowercase classy. ❤
I love his writing style!
Thank you Cindy, I too learned a lot from this post. I will be saving it, and using it for reference one those days that my memory Fails me!
Awesome! Thank you.
Gah I always get the directions and seasons wrong! Maybe my brain will finally get it now haha.
I hope this helps!
I am guilty of texting in lower case. I love these examples. As Matt said, the examples are easy to remember. Thank you for this post. I think as we get older, we tend to become sloppy.
Most people seem to text in lower case! My kids make fun of me for using proper case and punctuation when I text. 😃
This is awesome!!!! I’ve shared this because I know you few people who would love this.
Awesome, thank you!
THIS WAS A FUN Post to read. Sorry about the large caps at the beginning of my comment. Testing out this new phone. Haha
Ha ha! I think anything goes in texting. And commenting on blog posts is darn close to texting! 😉