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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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