C … is for Capitals

C[1]  is for capitals. At first glance when writing, the use of capital letters seems easy enough, but when you look a little deeper, it has some basic rules which are easy to miss.

If we take the most obvious examples, we’d be looking at things like proper names; John Smith, Janis Joplin, Cary Grant, etc. There is nothing too difficult there, because a person’s name will not alter in any circumstances within writing, apart from different spelling.

Countries and cities have something a little trickier to consider. For example, we would write; London, New York, Paris, England, France, and Africa. When we use the nation’s name as an adjective, the capital letter remains constant; English pub, French fashion house, African township and so on.

The exception to this rule, is when the reference is ‘distant’, and is not necessarily ‘connected’ to the place. We have examples like; french windows, brussels sprouts, danish pastry, and yorkshire pudding. Some writing programmes would have you believe otherwise, by highlighting the word as a spelling error – so be wary.

Rank and title are a common area for mistakes. I’ll demonstrate examples in dialogue.

Superintendent Jackson told me that he would investigate the matter,” Peter said.

“I was told by the superintendent that he’d investigate the matter,” Peter said.

Relatives can draw you into making errors too. Dad, Mum, Granddad, and so on.

Gordon said: “Mum, are you going to pick up my uniform later?”

Sally said: “I saw your mum down at the bus stop earlier Gordon.”

In summary, I would like to give credit to my bible on this matter: ‘The Writer’s abc Checklist’, by Lorraine Mace and Maureen Vincent-Northam. That book is never further than arm’s length when I’m writing anything serious.

The correct answer to the question at the end of my ‘A’ post was 8. The closest answer was 9, which came from Sarah Neeve, so well done to you Sarah, and thanks for having a go.

Thank you for dropping by. I’ll be back tomorrow with my thoughts on D.


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