Social Question

iWitch's avatar

Why do people feel the need to capitalize things that aren't proper nouns?

Asked by iWitch (593points) August 17th, 2010

I see people do it all the time. They’ll capitalize adjectives and improper nouns for no reason. They’ll do something like this, “So I took my Dog Spot to the Super Market to buy some Dish Soap. When we crossed the Street we saw a little Girl that was playing with her Dolls.”

Some people even do this: “Why The Hell Am I Doing This Idiotic Thing That Undermines The Work Of Centuries Of Hardworking Linguists.”

What is this? Where did this come from? And how do we make it stop? :(

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16 Answers

NaturallyMe's avatar

I have bad news for you…..

There’s nothing you can do about it! People are going to write how they want to write. Maybe that’s their “signature” handwriting, something they’ve taken and personalized it to make it belong to them. Who knows?!

augustlan's avatar

Ugh. I don’t know… lack of proper education? I just know it makes me a tad crazy.

iWitch's avatar

@NaturallyMe Well, NaturallyMe, naturally I realize there’s nothing I can do about it. However, it really really really really annoys me. And Fluther is the only one of my friends awake right now. (Yes, I call the website my friend.)

@augustlan I don’t even know if it’s that. I know some people that say they do it to be unique. They end up looking touched in the head when in reality they’re intelligent people… except for the fact that they have no respect for grammar.

augustlan's avatar

I could see the unique aspect if we’re talking about middle school kids. Hell I used to dot all of my “i“s with hearts! I just kind of expect people to outgrow that sort of thing. Eventually.

iWitch's avatar

@augustlan They don’t outgrow it, though. I see middle-aged people doing it. It makes my brain explode a little.

augustlan's avatar

@iWitch Exactly. Shouldn’t we all be unique without having to resort to middle school tactics? It’s craziness, I tell you. ;)

iWitch's avatar

@augustlan Thanks for humoring me. I’m pulling an all-nighter. ;) And am a little delirious.

I am glad you and I are unique enough to not have to type like a middle-schooler. High fives all around, my friend.

zenele's avatar

It’s really Annoying. I have No idea why people do it.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

That hurt my brain just now. I’m a total grammer snob. Maybe language arts has been secretly cut from the education budgets and no one noticed. I have enough trouble myself with people not using punctuation in IM’s or using all caps all the time.

JilltheTooth's avatar

It was common during the Victorian Era to capitalize some nouns for emphasis… are these people really really really old? :-)

morphail's avatar

Who are these linguists who have been working hard for hundreds of years to make sure people don’t capitalize common nouns?

aprilsimnel's avatar

Perhaps they are German!

Sarcasm's avatar

@aprilsimnel But that only explains the capitalization of Nouns. It’s a Mystery we’ll never understand.
i find the habit to be more annoying than a complete lack of capitalization. at least with nothing capitalized, it’s more uniform and less broken up.

zenele's avatar

actually i really hate it when people write like this, especially using, like, like…

A capitilization of a noun, now and again, isn’t the Worst thing one could do…

gasman's avatar

I haven’t observed what’s described in the question. Every day I see all kinds of writing errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc, in email or on the internet, including some truly weird formatting—but never the kind of over-capitalization that you describe. Am I alone?

Perhaps these writers feel the need to format all of their thoughts as headlines or titles. Or they’ve been exposed to too much Victorian prose (@JilltheTooth) or German (@aprilsimnel) ! Don’t they notice that all other writing lacks such capitalization?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Far too few people read well written works. People who don’t read good English tend to fail to speak it well and write it well.

Sadly, many commercially successful novelists seen ignorant or contemptuous of rules of grammar. Perhaps their works are aimed at the lowest common denominator. Seeing dangling participles and sometimes poor sentence structure irritates me, and I wonder what editors think they are doing.

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