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Are capitals and punctuation necessary in written English?





deanhills
I prefer the use of capitals and punctuation. It provides good form to that which has been written. I used to be an Editor a few years ago and I really like it when people take care with their writing by following the standard rules. But lately I've noticed that those participating in Forum discussions are moving away from capitalizing the first letters of their sentences, the "I" in the middle of a sentence and product names.

I'm trying to play Devil's Advocate with my preference and wondering whether those who prefer not to use the punctuation and capitals are actually on a good thing here. Whether it is "i" or "I" in the middle of a sentence, and the sentence starts with a lower case, what is the big deal really? Why are we capitalizing "I" anyway? Why capitalize "apple" when it is a product name?

I'm interested to know what the views of other Frihosters are in this regard and particularly Moderators of Frihost and Moderators of other Forums who are posting at Frihost. Am I behind the times here? What are your preferences? Smile

Thread moved to Languages and Translation by Ghost Rider103
Peterssidan
Capitals and punctuations are visual aids to see where a sentence starts and ends. Leaving them out is just lazy.
lucascoelho
They say the languages are alive, cause they change all the time.
As we are living on internet times, those changes seem to happen even faster and things are starting to get out of control.

I believe some respect should be paid to languages, their rules and structures. If we have established the use of punctuation, for instance, that's because it's important; they have a function on the text. Can we understand what's being told without them? Usually we can, but they ease things and help avoiding misunderstandings. In languages like English, where verb position on the sentence or the use of auxiliary verbs indicate a question, we might think the question mark is unnecessary, but on other languages like Portuguese I sometimes can't understand whether it's a question or affirmative as people won't use the "?" on a chat room or forum.

Some rules might be taken as exaggerated, like German capitalizing all nouns, or the excess of double consonants or graphic accents in French, but I see those as part of the beauty of the languages, besides their historical and structural reasons.

If we loosen too much our writings here and there, we may lose control of what we mean everywhere!
hdragon
do it?
lucascoelho
hdragon wrote:
do it?


That was a nice example; I don't have a clue of what you meant by that! Think
deanhills
lucascoelho wrote:
hdragon wrote:
do it?


That was a nice example; I don't have a clue of what you meant by that! Think
Agreed! Perhaps this is part of the more modern way of writing English. It gives a two-word clue and then the rest is up to us to figure out. Did you notice that the sentence did not start with a capital? Twisted Evil
lucascoelho
deanhills wrote:
Agreed! Perhaps this is part of the more modern way of writing English. It gives a two-word clue and then the rest is up to us to figure out. Did you notice that the sentence did not start with a capital? Twisted Evil


HAHAHA, sure indeed!
I like your point of view; maybe it's just like a Masterpiece: the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You read whatever you want from the small clue! Idea
standready
deanhills wrote:
wondering whether those who prefer not to use the punctuation and capitals are actually on a good thing here.

NO not a good thing just laziness. Certainly not a good idea here where we have so many that are learning English and we should set a good example for them.

deanhills wrote:
Why are we capitalizing "I" anyway? Why capitalize "apple" when it is a product name?

Both are examples of 'proper' names.
Ankhanu
lucascoelho wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Agreed! Perhaps this is part of the more modern way of writing English. It gives a two-word clue and then the rest is up to us to figure out. Did you notice that the sentence did not start with a capital? Twisted Evil


HAHAHA, sure indeed!
I like your point of view; maybe it's just like a Masterpiece: the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You read whatever you want from the small clue! Idea

... Maybe.
This would hold more weight if the general point in writing was not to convey ideas clearly and to the point. Effective writing is clear and unambiguous, unless the point is to be obtuse. Clarity is of great importance, and it is clarity that the rules for writing are intended to provide (let's ignore syntax and grammar for a bit Wink ).

The rules for capitalization and punctuation are there to help convey ideas clearly, but they're not necessary. One can construct an effective sentence without them, but nuance and meaning can be lost without them (less of an issue with capitalization). For the most part, people are lazy and really just don't care about communicating; "close enough" is all they're after. Of course, all too often the actual end result is pretty much unintelligible garbage, verbal diarrhea, if you will.

<Rhetorical>How many times have I had to ask users here what the hell they meant in their posts, that what they said wasn't clear??</rhetorical> Sometimes that was due to jumbled thoughts, sometimes due to lacking punctuation leading to multiple interpretations.
davidv
deanhills wrote:
I prefer the use of capitals and punctuation. It provides good form to that which has been written. I used to be an Editor a few years ago and I really like it when people take care with their writing by following the standard rules. But lately I've noticed that those participating in Forum discussions are moving away from capitalizing the first letters of their sentences, the "I" in the middle of a sentence and product names.

I'm trying to play Devil's Advocate with my preference and wondering whether those who prefer not to use the punctuation and capitals are actually on a good thing here. Whether it is "i" or "I" in the middle of a sentence, and the sentence starts with a lower case, what is the big deal really? Why are we capitalizing "I" anyway? Why capitalize "apple" when it is a product name?

I'm interested to know what the views of other Frihosters are in this regard and particularly Moderators of Frihost and Moderators of other Forums who are posting at Frihost. Am I behind the times here? What are your preferences? Smile


Honestly, the main reason why I add punctuation and capitals to my posts is because it's easier on the eyes. Also, because of things like this:

my uncle helped jack off a horse
My uncle helped Jack, off a horse.
ocalhoun
Besides the whole ambiguity factor, correct punctuation and capitalization also makes the writing easier (and therefore quicker) to read.

It's just polite to make reading easier for your readers, and correct grammar (in all areas, including capitalization and punctuation) makes it easier to read.


davidv wrote:

my uncle helped jack off a horse
My uncle helped Jack, off a horse.

I see the point you're trying to make there... but in the second sentence there, the comma is grammatically incorrect.

A way to make it unambiguous without an inappropriate comma would be "Jack off of a horse."
(Though, of course, the capitalization is really enough for a careful reader.)
GuidanceReader
An other example of the need for punctuation:

'Let's eat Grandma!' or, 'Let's eat, Grandma!' will give two different meanings.

I think punctuation and grammar are important, but that 'text-English' also has it's own rules, making it different to English anyway.
standready
GuidanceReader wrote:
'Let's eat Grandma!'

I don't think she would be very tasty! laugh
Robert_Redbeard
Those who don't are just lazy. They have been raised on the internet and texting.

They are the same folks who will go on and on for pages and not even divide things into paragraphs. It makes for a real headache of a read and it's just ugly.

I don't know why people do it. I'm pretty sure they still teach it in school.
deanhills
Good point Robert. On the other hand, if they don't get any resistance in the form of people guiding them differently, then perhaps it's going to get worse not better.
Robert_Redbeard
I don't see it changing either.

Nobody wants it to be their problem. And until the buck stops getting passed things will continue to go down hill. Personally, I only see it accelerating. People are to busy being worried about themselves in the here and now to think about the future. Or what a bunch of uneducated, slacker kids might mean to that future.

I’m not exactly talking about extensive education here either. Just a little bit of right and wrong. Some basic math and grammar. You know, those little things that used to count.

Speaking of right and wrong. I had this little kid, maybe 10 to 12 years old, throw a chunk of ice at me as I walked by the other day. This kid is lucky it is illegal to knock them down and punch them in the throat. What in the world would make a kid think that is okay to do? Looked all smug too. Like yep, I just did that. I had a few choice words for him. But I still believe in my heart that stupidity like that should be painful.
ocalhoun
Robert_Redbeard wrote:
This kid is lucky it is illegal to knock them down and punch them in the throat. [...] Looked all smug too.

It isn't illegal to walk towards him menacingly while cracking your knuckles....
Then at least you don't have to suffer smug looks from a little kid.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Robert_Redbeard wrote:
This kid is lucky it is illegal to knock them down and punch them in the throat. [...] Looked all smug too.

It isn't illegal to walk towards him menacingly while cracking your knuckles....
Then at least you don't have to suffer smug looks from a little kid.
Hilarious! However, hopefully the mother won't be around. Amazing how creative parents can become in their imagination of what actually transpired, just from hearing knuckles cracked. I'd just ignore the kid and pretend as though the kid did not exist. Their mission is usually to get your attention. So to ignore them to the extent that they have zero existence is probably the best revenge.
Robert_Redbeard
All I know is I would have gotten my butt kicked as a kid if I had done something like that. But I digress.

Just an annoying kid. Probably can't use capitals or punctuation either.
deanhills
Robert_Redbeard wrote:
Just an annoying kid. Probably can't use capitals or punctuation either.
Definitely! And would probably use abbreviations like 4 (for) you (u) etc. Twisted Evil
ocalhoun
Robert_Redbeard wrote:
Probably can't use capitals or punctuation either.

Aw... now that's pretty baseless.

I'm sure there must be some kids who are annoying, smug, and use proper grammar.
Robert_Redbeard
ocalhoun wrote:
Robert_Redbeard wrote:
Probably can't use capitals or punctuation either.

Aw... now that's pretty baseless.

I'm sure there must be some kids who are annoying, smug, and use proper grammar.


LOL! You got me. Completely thoughtless ranting on my part. As usual. Rolling Eyes
deanhills
Robert_Redbeard wrote:
LOL! You got me. Completely thoughtless ranting on my part. As usual. Rolling Eyes
Not completely though. I'd be with you at least 80% in this. Giving the benefit of the doubt maybe 10 to 20%.

It's up to us as well too. Some of these characters actually like to be set boundaries. I.e. they may start off with sloppy language, and then when one talks to them in a nice way, may apologize and improve 100%. The last time I did it, the guy responded that he was just feeling his way as to what the expectations of the writing format would be. He'd have happily continued with no caps and punctuation if I had not asked him. So setting a good example is not enough. One probably needs to get out of one's comfort zone to ask that they write in proper format. And that is of course the major challenge. To do it in a way that won't offend.
Ankhanu
dean hills wrote:
So setting a good example is not enough. One probably needs to get out of one's comfort zone to ask that they write in proper format. And that is of course the major challenge. To do it in a way that won't offend.

Sometimes ya just gotta say "sod it" and just go ahead and offend. Offending someone isn't exactly the end of the world, and can simply get the job done where pussy-footing around won't.

Really, being upfront and direct is refreshingly simple and respectable. Bending over backwards to avoid any hurt feelings, all to often, just comes across as pointless filler and occasionally confuses the intended message, or disguises the seriousness of the request/ruling.
sudipbanerjee
For a good writing Capital and punctuation are obviously important. To denote the start and end of a sentence these are essential.
Robert_Redbeard
Ankhanu wrote:
Sometimes ya just gotta say "sod it" and just go ahead and offend. Offending someone isn't exactly the end of the world, and can simply get the job done where pussy-footing around won't.

Really, being upfront and direct is refreshingly simple and respectable. Bending over backwards to avoid any hurt feelings, all to often, just comes across as pointless filler and occasionally confuses the intended message, or disguises the seriousness of the request/ruling.


Yeah, as a whole we have become way to scared to offend. I'm offended every day by the way people act and go about their lives. Nobody cares. It's just a loud and idiotic minority of people that think it is the end of the world if you offend them and act foolish.

Some might be embarassed if you bring something like this up to them. But I would say that it should be pretty hard to actually offend.
deanhills
Robert_Redbeard wrote:
Some might be embarassed if you bring something like this up to them. But I would say that it should be pretty hard to actually offend.
Completely agreed.
Robert_Redbeard
From my understanding this whole bad or lazy way of spelling came about because of chat rooms. Which I never understood. It's not like you really have a limited text field in most. So there is no real reason other than laziness to shorten things up. And the shift key is still just a pinky finger away. So capitals are not a problem either.

On the other hand I can see shortening things up in a text message. Since you only have 160 characters to get what you need to say input. And I admit that some phones I have had didn't make it easy to use the shift function. Until I got a full qwerty slider phone, I was occasionally guilty of not using capitals.

What is really annoying to me though. Seeing people actually write on hardcopy items like they were texting someone. Not just the XOXO stuff. But the ttyl, luv u, g2g kinda crap. That is just pure lazy.
inuyasha
It seems you're talking about cyber languages~ As long as we don't abuse it, it's okay. But I don't use cyber words very often because it's not easy for me to understand them. Very Happy
By the way, I guess some non-native English speakers may think shortened cyber words or expressions indicate a higher level of English. We always want to speak as a native speaker~~
deanhills
inuyasha wrote:
expressions indicate a higher level of English. We always want to speak as a native speaker~~
BINGO inuyasha. Haven't thought about that before. But you're right. They may think it is a cool style of writing.
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