On capitals and commas …

LI I like to write. I always have. I like writing emails, proposals, short stories, blog posts and, even poetry. It doesn’t matter. Sometimes, I even think there is a book in me.

I revel in finding the right word, constructing sentences and, putting thoughts to paper. Well, it’s less on paper these days and more on my hard drive or out there somewhere on a cloud. Sometimes, I will compose in my head for days, even weeks (usually when I am on my bike). And, sometimes, I open up my laptop and words stream effortlessly onto the keyboard and on that ubiquitous cloud. Sometimes it is easy. Other times, hard. At all times, rewarding.

I’m all for taking artistic liberties. I like to experiment with words, structure and, points of view. And, I enjoy it when others do as well. However, recently I have observed two liberties that bother me no end. Sentences are meant to start with a capital letter. Too often, I see passages without any capitals, not even for proper nouns. A capital letter starts a sentence and a period (or exclamation or question mark) ends it. That’s what I was taught. Isn’t that correct grammar? So, why do people do this? If they are not going to start the sentence with a capital, why end it with a period? I don’t understand.

I like to write as if I am having a conversation and, when I talk, I pause for effect and to emphasize a point. So, when I write, I use the comma (or semi-colon) to replicate the rhythm of my speech. Again, too often, I see passages without any punctuation, just a long stream of words. I find it distracting. When I read, I like to pause, interject my own thoughts and be drawn into the thought. So, if you do not capitalize the beginning of a sentence or, ramble without punctuation, please stop or, at least, explain to me why you do it. Suggested Reading:

  1. Rules for Commas
  2. Capitalization
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13 thoughts on “On capitals and commas …

  1. As I am an ESL teacher and fight with my students about these things, I had no other option than to “like” this column. Truth be told, I would have done in anyway.

      • I’m not sure. I’m crap at grammar myself as I also never learnt it at school. My husband did though so maybe he can point them in the right direction.

      • This is a problem. Schools and parents that are indifferent. I can’t talk. I have 3 grown children and only 1 can talk and write correctly. Interestingly, they all went to the same schools (except universities) and even had the same grade school teachers. The best of the lot is my daughter. Women seem to be better talkers and writers.

  2. I hate to be a pedant but in a post about grammar it seems appropriate….. There are couple of points in your post where I don’t think you have used the correct grammar / spelling, especially in relation to the word “it”! And in the comment above you say “what are you going to do to insure they learn grammar?” This may be an English/American thing but in the UK we would say ensure instead of insure… Insure is to pay money against something bad happening, ensure is to guarantee/make certain. Again, I hate to be a pedant but as I completely agree with your blog post felt I should point it out! (Ps I am sure my own posts are littered with grammatical spelling errors due to typing and proof-reading too fast!)

    • I was waiting for this. I don’t think it is an American/English thing. After I published the post, I realized that I had used the incorrect word. My apologies and thank you for pointing it out. 🙂

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