Social Question

AhYem's avatar

Are you sensitive to CAPITAL letters?

Asked by AhYem (348points) December 27th, 2022
27 responses
“Great Question” (9points)

I have to ask that question, because I don’t want to break any rules here.

On many sites people think you’re yelling at them when you write a word or a sentence with CAPITALS.

When I went to school, we learned that CAPITALS were used for EMPHASIZING a notion, and that YELLING was denoted by one or more EXCLAMATION MARK(S).

So, when I write a sentence here, say “Do you understand THAT?” there is no yelling behind ‘THAT’. I’m only EMPHASIZING it. If I would like to yell at you, I would write “Do you understand THAT?!?”

I’m hardly yelling at all, ‘cause I’m very calmed down. I do yell sometimes, but it’s only to myself, when I do something wrong, or to someone else, but only when I read something or when I watch the TV. So for instance during a football game you could hear me yell several times, but that would be against the characters on the TV screen, not the people that are with me in the room. And one more thing: No matter how unbelievable it sounds, but after every ‘outburst’ it takes me a couple SECONDS to calm down and behave as if nothing had ever happened :D

So, once again the question:

Will you feel uncomfortable, if I sometimes write some words or entire sentences with CAPITALS, and with NO EXCLAMATION MARKS behind them?

Oh, just for clarification: I can almost never use those ‘fat letters’, because it’s only possible for me when I write on Word. But when I’m here or on Facebook or on any other social website, I don’t have that option, so I’m simply compelled to use CAPITALS when I want to stress out something.

Thanks for your kind answers.

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snowberry's avatar

Writing in all caps can be bothersome, but to me, it’s fine once in a while. It is possible to bold certain words by putting a * just before and after a sentence or group of words you want to emphasize. Like this

Here’s a link to the full list.

Blackberry's avatar

Bold, italicized letters and underlining denote emphasis.
Where did you go to school? Because that is wrong.

AhYem's avatar

I can’t use bold or italicized letters outside Word. Neither can I underline them, ‘cause either there no such option on my laptop, or I don’t know how to find it.

I went to school in Yugoslavia till 7th grade primary, and then in Germany. In both countries it’s the way I described.

Luckily I can use the star symbol * that is there on my English keyboard. I can’t use it though when I write German or Macedonian.

So, when I want to emphasize a word or a sentence, I’ll place them between stars (…..). It won’t look good to me, but it’ll serve the purpose :D

rebbel's avatar


snowberry's avatar

@AhYem You put a star (asterisk) at the beginning and end of each word or passage that you want to bold. When you post your answer here, we won’t see the asterisk.

The asterisk is available on any standard keyboard, and you use the same method to use the underline or the hyphen in the link I provided.

I am on an iPad. I do not have Word, but I manage very well. I have noticed these rules seem to be standard in posting online in various situations.

Maybe you need to relearn the process correctly. Otherwise you’ll end up sending the wrong message.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar


gondwanalon's avatar

When I see writing with all caps I wonder why they are doing it. Like are they too lazy to switch between upper and lower case? Some people write without using any upper case letters even when they are clearly called for. I wonder about that also.

I’ll tell you what I’m really sensitive to. People who don’t know how to write a paragraph. And they have run-on sentences loaded with different thoughts and topics that fill a page. Hard to understand what they are trying to say.

I’m a sloppy writer. I make lots of grammatical errors. But proper grammar is important to me and I try to do my best. I proof read my writing but never see all my mistakes. I feel sorry and embarrassed about that.

RayaHope's avatar

I only capitalize an entire sentence when I’m mad and yelling at someone. Which I did do here once. :( But if I capitalize just one WORD I’m only putting emphasis on that word. Using a punctuation mark at the end is giving more punch to what I’m saying! As if to make a point without yelling. Now if I was to end a sentence like this: “Just what do you mean?!” I’m asking with attitude.

snowberry's avatar

Also, in the question you posted above, you put in so many words in all caps that I find it distracting. I’m used to normal capitalization, and so it takes me much longer to sort out your meaning.

That doesn’t help you, because I might not bother reading anything else you have to say. I’m certain I’m not the only one.

Mimishu1995's avatar

It took me quite a while to understand what you are saying, not because of your capitals, but because your writing is really disjoint and full of unnecessary details.

I’m not bothered by capitals. I sometimes use it when writing on FB or other places that don’t have options for emphasizing. I’m more uncomfortable with writing that goes on and on without any focus.

jca2's avatar

I find it distracting and it’s not really proper as far as English correspondence and other writing goes. You don’t typically see lots of caps as emphasis in books, in letter and in printed and online media. When people read a phrase or a sentence, they put the emphasis on certain words on their own, without needing caps to tell them where the emphasis is.

zenvelo's avatar

All caps is YELLING, and we are a quiet bunch here at Fluther. Better to use bold to emphasize.

AhYem's avatar

It was not just my teachers, Rebbel, it was all teachers in Yugoslavia and Germany.

Remember, it was the time when the only way to write for common people was their hand writing. I went to primary school between 1962 and 1970, and we didn’t use computers or smartphones, not even writing machines. Just hand writing. And as you know well, there are no bold letters or Italics in handwriting, so that’s why we were taught to use capitals for stressing out words or sentences.

The regulation according to which upper case is only used to express yelling is not only new, but also a matter of interpretation. According to the old European education it would even be considered wrong, because the size of letters alone doesn’t mean anything, apart from its basic meaning (at the beginning of a new sentence or as first letter of names), so yelling has to be made clear by one or more exclamation marks at the end of the sentence. Without exclamation marks there is no yelling.

Big letters are sometimes funny, but other times they are very useful. For instance, there is a big difference between ‘time’ and ‘Time’ or between ‘space’ and ‘Space’, or between a ‘big bang’ and the ’ Big Bang’. Also there is a slight difference in meaning between ‘an old SONG’ and ‘an OLD song’, and that’s why you can very often see big letters in Europe. They are present every where, even in the Newspapers.

Maybe you’ll understand me better if you think on these two examples:



In the first case, the usage of capitals is normal, because it denotes the name of a country.

In the second case the usage is typically American, because only Americans write almost all initial letters in a title with capitals. Europeans don’t, they would write Nasa.

Lbnl. neither of the two words above denotes yelling, in spite of the big letters they consist of. Yelling or shouting is always signified by exclamation marks behind the word or at the end of a sentence, as is the case in the ovation USA! USA! USA! If you just wrote USA, USA, USA, it would be like you’re trying to remember it, and that’s why you’re repeating it. That’s why exclamation marks exist for in the first place, they only serve the purpose of expressing loud talk, threatening, warning, screaming, yelling or shouting.

Besides, I also use a big letter to make clear where the stressing lies in a long word. If I wanted to tell you how the word ‘Geography’ is being pronounced in English, German and Macedonian, I’d write it like this:

English: GeOgraphy,

German: GeographIE,

Macedonian: GeogrAfija.

Sure I could try to make the particular letter bold, but how would I do that at handwriting? I’d write through the paper :D :D :D

I’ll now try to write it the way I was instructed here, just to see how it would look like:

English: Ge*o*graphy

German: Geograph*ie*

Macedonian: Geogr*a*fija.

See that? If I use the asterisk for a whole word, it becomes bold, but if I do that with only one or two letters inside a word, they don’t become bold. And that’s the problem.

I guess you’re an avid reader, or else you wouldn’t get this far :). I’m sorry for my style, but I can’t help writing long in order to explain something.

Whatever, I’ll just use the asterisk every time I can and that’s it. :)

Thanks a lot for your attention and good advice, Rebbel

rebbel's avatar

You are welcome :-)
I apologise, I was wrong.

snowberry's avatar

Thank you for a well written explanation @AhYem. Very interesting!

flutherother's avatar

Filling your text with capitals has the same effect on me as shouting and far from emphasising anything it makes me disinclined to read on. Capital letters have their place in writing, that’s why they exist, but I would go easy on using them.

jca2's avatar

There is a Jelly who uses caps a lot and also emphasizes her writing with lots of exclamation points, and it’s just odd to me, but yet very distinctive because when she does it, I know before I even read her name that it’s her.

JLeslie's avatar

I didn’t read the answers above yet.

I feel capitals can be either yelling or for emphasis. Writing the word THAT in capitals seems like yelling to me. Writing a word or phrase in capitals because you don’t want it to be missed is emphasis to me. Although, a way of emphasizing in speech is raising your voice and articulating the words more clearly (is that redundant?) and capitals kind of do that. So, even if it’s not yelling, it might be slightly louder. I think of yelling as being done at someone and a raised voice is to call attention.

Some people prefer bold or highlight to make sure it’s not missed rather than capitals.

I tend to emphasize in some way or another if I want or need a question answered within the body of a paragraph or several paragraphs.

zenvelo's avatar

@AhYem Your description of how emphasis was communicated in handwritten text would still be confusing to most people. Most hand written text needs little more emphasis than an underline.

In hand written text by someone using cursive script, lower case block letters can delineate emphasis.

Your use of capitals to show pronunciation stress would be better served by using accents.

Your description of USA and NASA are inaccurate. USA should be written U. S. A. The periods denote an abbreviation. NASA is an acronym, and is always spelled in capital letters. And Europeans do not spell it Nasa,

bob_'s avatar


JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo USA is written both ways, with and without the periods.

@AhYem NASA should be all capitals, because it is an acronym as @zenvelo stated, the same as USA can be an acronym. Americans don’t pronounce USA as a word, but we have taken the periods out the same way as we have dropped a commas in some instances and no more double space after a period. Saving space basically for the printed word. Some countries do pronounce USA as a word, although sometimes it is more jokingly than serious. My husband uses ooh-sah sometimes. @bob_ might have heard it in Mexico.

To go further about NASA, I grew up in DC where we talk about the different government agencies constantly, NIST, NIH, NOAA, NCI, HHS, NIAID, and some we say the letters and some we say it as a word. Most people outside of DC in the US wouldn’t even know which is customary. NIST, NOAA, and NIAID are usually said as words, the rest aren’t.

Jons_Blond's avatar

If it’s done occasionally I don’t mind.

@jca2 I was going to mention that as well. When I see someone write like that in every response I assume they are very emotional.

AhYem's avatar

@zenvelo, the Europeans do spell it Nasa.

They write NASA only because they have adopted the American way of writing it, but in their own writings they would write Nasa. Sure times are changing, and before long we will all write it as NASA, since older people die out, and the young ones have learned it only as NASA, and they will write it the way they saw it first in their lives.

In my language the name of Washington is pronounced as Vah-shing-ton. The American pronunciation goes like Woh-shing-ton. When I talk to my countrymen or to Germans, I say Wah-shing-ton, but when I talk to English speaking people I say Woh-shing-ton. The original pronunciation has been adopted by me, it’s not the way Europeans would utter it among themselves.

Same way, when I write the word NASA to English speaking people, I write it with the upper case, on the risk of being taken as a rude person who yells while writing it, since I know that Americans might think you’re shouting, screaming or yelling when you write NASA, VOA, YMCM or NATO. .But when I write to my countrymen I use the forms Nasa or Nato.

Now it’s true that the old way of writing those terms has become rare, and that’s because of the reason that I mentioned above – namely old people leaving their positions and being replaced by young people, who have never learned to write Nato instead of NATO.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m American and I say Wah-shing-ton and so does everyone I know. I actually grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC. I wonder if anyone else here agrees that their region of the US they say Woh-shing-ton? Maybe in the Midwest it sounds more like that, but I didn’t notice it when I lived in a midwestern state.

Some states some people say wash warsh, possibly they add the r sound to the word Washington too. I’m not sure.

wearemiracles's avatar


Dutchess_III's avatar

@AhYem…would it make any difference if I told you NASA isn’t actually a word?

raum's avatar

Yes, I’ve been on the internet too long and caps just reads like yelling.

Doesn’t seem to bother newer users as much, I think?

I’ve had to ask our kid to stop “yelling” over text.

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