My pet hates 8 – overuse of words written in capital letters

Happy New Year! Now is the time to make good on that New Year’s resolution, in my case starting the January diet. Surfing the Internet for weight-loss tips I came upon several websites that appeared to be shouting at me. How?

The authors were putting words or phrases in all-capital letters for no reason other than trying to draw my attention to their offer. That’s what I call shouting in writing.

For example: “We use a new POWERFUL EFFECTIVE COMBINATION of HYPNOSIS and NEURO-LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING (NLP) to communicate with the unconscious mind, this is where all of our habits and beliefs are formed. This is the long term answer to WEIGHT CONTROL.”

Give me a break. I can read!

Another offer for me to slim down said: “…between 3rd – 30th January, buy a 12-week Countdown course (INCLUDES 2 FREE WEEKS) and get FREE MEMBERSHIP worth £10”.

I am always put off by excessive use of capital letters, just as I find it irritating to read an email or a website where the writer mixes fonts and ends every other sentence with not just one but several exclamation marks.

I commented on fonts and exclamation marks on my blog in December.

It is as if some writers don’t think their readers would understand the message unless it is packed with words written in upper case, words where bold and italics are mixed arbitrarily and where exclamation marks are used liberally.

Not only do they break up the flow of the text, but such excesses insult my intelligence. They are a sure sign of an enthusiastic amateur writer who doesn’t understand that the words themselves often suffice to show the tone.

I welcome your comments.

Rolf Soderlind

http://www.absolutwriting.com/ absolutwriting


6 comments on “My pet hates 8 – overuse of words written in capital letters

  1. Great blog Rolf. It’s high time to re-introduce some proper grammar to the web !

    • Hi Chris, thanks for the feedback. I only started the blog at the end of November and in the first four weeks it had about 4,700 visitors. That’s encouraging. By the way, I like your photography website.

  2. Tried a Google search to discover if there was a mental illness for overuse of capital letters. Came across this blog. Very well endowed I must say, so I’m now a subscriber! 🙂

    My FrIeNd cAnT sToP wRiTiNg ConSeCuTiVe CaPiTaL lEtTeRs


    It’s very irritating as you can see…

  3. Hi Mark, nice comment. Thanks

  4. Interesting that you are getting so many readers. My question is – is there a name for a person who overuses formatting in writing – eg capitals, bolding, underlining (including simply capitalizing words like… “a Judge was reported to remark” … why capitalize judge in that instance, c/f “Judge Smith said”)
    I see you suggest someone is shouting when they use all caps, but I wonder if there is an established (or evolving) word for such a person? You get lots of them in the law.
    Neil Adsett

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