Mandy Collins & Associates

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Why you’re probably overusing capital letters

Here’s a style tip for content writers: step away from the capital letters.

Capital letters have some fundamental uses – they mark the first word of a sentence, they’re for proper nouns and acronyms, and they are often used in the titles of books, plays, films and other works of art.

They are *not* for job titles, or propping up the boss’s ego because he thinks capitals indicate how important he is.

Managing directors and chief executive officers are a dime a dozen, as are chief finance officers and human resources executives. These are common nouns. You wouldn’t capitalise “janitor” or ‘teacher” or “lawyer” – and if you would, stop it at once.

Similarly, when you’re talking about the board, the chairperson, the company or the group – all common nouns – you don’t need a capital letter. You are not a lawyer. And if you are, as you were. Nothing I say will ever change your convoluted legalese.

Not only is it incorrect to capitalise a common noun, it also creates visual clutter in your writing. Be ruthless; cut those unnecessary capitals down to size – and gently educate the objectors in the way of better business writing.

Picture by Bogdan Dada on Unsplash.


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