Lecture of the Week
bothersome to capitalize, especially when you’re sending text messages, and we all know how important it is to get those
out as quickly as possible. You have to think about it, then you have to hit that little button to make
a capital. That’s work. It’s just so much easier not to. It’s
right up there with using apostrophes. Quite frankly, it’s work. And who needs
that? But just like the meanings of words change when you don’t use apostrophes (consider the difference
between “he’ll” and “hell”), the meaning also changes when you don’t capitalize.
Consider the following examples:
If you don’t capitalize corvette, you are no longer writing
about a car. You are writing about a fast sailing ship.
is a horse; “Mustang” is the car.
If you capitalize directions, such as “South,”
then you are writing about the specific geographical region, as in “The South’s gonna do it again!”
If you don’t capitalize the “ess,” then you are writing about the general direction, as in, “If
you want to get to Portland, you need to go south.”
What about Republicans and Democrats? In
the lower case, republican and democrat are forms of government. In the upper case, Republican and Democrat
are political parties in the United States. Likewise, a tea party is something a four year old daughter
plays at, whereas the Tea Party is something her 40 year old mother plays at.
As well, Constitution is different than constitution.
The former is that beloved document that pretty much defines everything that makes one an American, and the other is
a word that describes a state of being, as in: His constitution always seemed to improve when he thought
about how wonderful it was to live in a country that had such a document as the Constitution.
And is it God or
god? Generally, capitalizing God is an indication of a particular deity, generally the Judeo-Christian
notion of God. Therefore, if you automatically capitalize God every time you use it, then you are probably
indicating your bias, whether you know it or not. On the other hand, god with a little “gee”
is an indication of no god in particular, or a choice from among many. For instance, if you are talking
about the Greek gods, it would be a little gee since you are not saying which god. Likewise, if you wrote,
“the god Zeus” it would be a little gee, since you are indicating a choice among many. What
that pretty much comes down to is that Christians and Jews tend to capitalize the name God when referring to their deity,
and everybody else on the planet pretty much doesn’t, either because they don’t feel the need to, or because their
god has a definite name. And then let’s not forget capitalizing all the pronouns associated with
God. Don’t. Really, it’s not necessary, and many Bible scholars feel the
same. “Bible,” by the way, should be capitalized because it is the name of a specific book.
However, if you are using “bible” in a general sense, such as the “wine-lover’s bible,”
then you would not capitalize it. And as long as we’re on the subject, do know that Jew’s don’t
call their bible the Old Testament? Only Christians call it the Old Testament. The Jews
generally call it the Hebrew Bible. And, I suppose, they call the New Testament the Christian Bible.
But that only seems proper. And could somebody please explain to me why the Books in the Old Testament
are arranged differently than they are in the Hebrew Bible?
And then there’s the personal pronoun “I.”
Sure, the English language is apparently the only language on the planet that capitalizes the personal
pronoun “I.” And it’s on the agenda for our next meeting to look into changing that.
But until then, we still do. First, you actually have to think about it, and then you have to take
the effort to hit the shift button, and you may ask, “What is there to confuse ‘I’ and ‘i’ with?”
Don’t they both mean the same thing? Really… no. The “i”
you refer to in the lower case is apparently somebody who doesn’t know grammar, or who doesn’t care.
Either way, I have to wonder about your credibility. And once your reader ever questions your credibility,
you have none. Of course, I would also question why you are mentioning yourself in a formal paper, but that’s for another essay.