Wednesday, 20 June 2012

sprinkling Capitals Into blog Titles in A Random fashion



I don’t know if you’ve noticed… I am hopeless at capitalising blog titles. It’s a bit of a hit and miss affair. I know my blog title should start with a capital. The important words also need capitals and the smaller unimportant ones don’t… have I got that right? Important… unimportant? How do I decide what is important and unimportant? Has it anything to do with word length? … Or perhaps it’s all to do with parts of speech.

I decided to do a bit of research and discovered an article, What Words Do I Capitalize in a Title? The author begins: I am sometimes surprised that so few people know which words are supposed to be capitalized in a title and which are not, because the rules are so few and so simple.

And the rules are simple... if you have a simple knowledge of grammar, in particular, the parts of speech.

Grammar? Years ago I was certain I had to give formal grammar lessons to my children…

When Felicity was about ten years old I bought her this wonderful grammar workbook. Every day she sat down and filled in the pages neatly and accurately and I was so pleased. It all looked very impressive. Felicity was learning about aspects of grammar I’d never even heard of.  She was getting a thorough education.

Then one day I took Felicity’s book and flipped back a few pages. I started quizzing her on her previous work, and I discovered she wasn’t getting a thorough education at all. She couldn’t remember a word of the work she’d supposedly completed. All she was doing every day was working out the answers, writing them down neatly for me to mark, and then forgetting them.

I decided perhaps I needed to quiz Felicity on her work routinely so she retained it but this turned out to be a painful exercise.

“Do I really need to know all this grammar, Mum?” she asked me. I thought about it and concluded she didn’t. When was she ever going to need to know everything in that beautifully presented thorough grammar workbook? We discarded the book with relief and moved onto other more relevant things.

Children will learn something when they see a need for it. One day Felicity did discover a good reason for learning grammar. We all began to study Latin and grammar suddenly became relevant. And when something becomes relevant, it is understood and remembered.

 But back to my blog post titles... 

Once again I can see a need for grammar. It will help me decide which words to capitalise in those tricky blog post titles. Instead of sprinkling capitals into random words, I could learn how to do it properly.

I’ve got nouns and verbs worked out and adjectives and adverbs are quite simple. But what sort of word is ‘what’ and ‘because’? I think I will borrow Andy’s school grammar book and see if I can work things out. 

Children will learn something when they see a need for it. So will mothers. With the help of the grammar book, I hope I'll soon have all my blog titles looking correct and respectable.

Does anyone else have trouble with capitals and titles?

PS Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a very entertaining book about punctuation. See my post The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation for details


22 comments:

  1. Sue-

    I tend to leave most things lowercase in my titles. I guess I am like you and am inconsistent with my title capitalizations. Grammar is one of those crazy subjects that, in and of itself, has no purpose. It is simply a tool to help us make our writing more readable. When textbooks try to isolate it from writing and make it a subject on its own they do our children such a disservice.

    Truly, your children are blessed to have a mother who cares more about knowledge than school work. You are guiding them through a real education and not a childhood of meaningless schooling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kari,

      You leave most things lower case? I like that! I think to a certain extent punctuation is very individual. We can punctuate our writing according to our own style. Some people tend to deliberately go against tradition. Was it the poet e.e. cummins who never used capitals?

      I think teaching formal grammar sounds good in theory. But in practice... It sounds like you have come to the same conclusion as us.

      Your words are very encouraging. Thank you so much, Kari!

      Delete
  2. iT Is veRy imPortant too kNow how too uze cApitaLs and too lEArn gOOd gramma;

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Victor,

      Your punctuation seemed good until we started talking about grammar and capitals. Now I think you've got confused just like our children do when they focus on this topic in isolation.

      Actually your sentence is a bit difficult to understand as you've written it. Maybe following some basic rules is helpful after all.

      God bless!

      Delete
  3. Oh, trust Victor to be facetious when we're having a serious homeschooling discussion!

    My earlier blog posts had better grimmer, Sue, but they sounded so formal and stuffy - no-one could tell how cute and friendly I really am.

    Actually, I think we should have a competition to see who can write the longest intelligible blog title with the least possible grammar - I got to 27 words last week and I could have said more! We could make it interesting by having the shortest intelligible post to go with it. On second thoughts, that's getting silly - Victor's a bad influence. Send him back to his spot, Sue, until he learns to behave:-D

    God bless:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicky,

      Your earlier posts had better 'grimmer'? I like that! That conjures up all sorts of interesting images.

      You are quite right: spoken English is very different from written English. And blog post writing tends to be more like speech because we want to achieve a chatty tone. Different rules of grammar for both.

      The longest intelligible blog post title? That's a new idea. But I wonder if anyone will have the inclination to read the post after spending all that time reading the title!

      Thank you for your funny thoughts!

      Delete
  4. Hi Sue, yeah, I'm not a big fan of following all those grammatical rules when it comes to the blog-o-sphere. It's casual all the way for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Noreen,

      I think you have the right idea. Casual is the best. I guess I am a bit of a perfectionist. Some people might call me far too fussy! Actually after reading Kari's comment, I am tempted to develop my own style of punctuating blog titles, and be an individual!

      God bless!

      Delete
  5. I simply use capitals for every word, like a song title.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Miu,

      That's a good system! Maybe I won't bother with the grammar book after all and just add capitals where I think they look good.

      Thank you for stopping by!

      Delete
  6. Sue,
    I read this post yesterday but didn't get a chance to reply. To be honest, I have no idea when to capitalize letters in my titles or not and I wing it. I have forgotten most the grammar rules I was in taught my youth and my blog is filled with mistakes because I am clueless... not because I am casual :)

    Well, I did learn that Victor has a good gramma and that Vicky's grammar is grimmer than my spelling. Lol! You three always crack me up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary,

      You are just like me. I wing it too and I'm clueless rather than casual! Just wondering whether a homeschooling mother should be setting a good example by doing things 'properly'.

      I am sure I have made many grammar and punctuation errors since I started blogging but no one has ever stopped to point them out. Either everyone is too kind to point out my mistakes, or no one has noticed them (because they are similarly clueless) or it could be that individual punctuation is acceptable these days.

      "Well, I did learn that Victor has a good gramma and that Vicky's grammar is grimmer than my spelling." Your turn to crack me up!!

      Delete
  7. heehee. This is me, now, in the age of online communication :P I used to be a grammar queen. 'Tis no more! lol And my "thing" is the ellipsis. .....love...love...love it....it is the flow of my conversation...I can not help myself....ahhhh...somebody stop me..... lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mandy,

      Would you believe I had to google the word 'ellipsis'!! I just call them (to myself) three dots or three full stops. Whatever they are called, I love them too! I use them all the time. They prevent me from having to think too much about punctuation. When in doubt... add a few dots...We are kindred ellipsis spirits. btw, what is the plural of ellipsis... ellipses... ellipsises??

      Delete
  8. Oh, this, for some reason really got me laughing!
    Especially this bit, as the same thing happened to me with one of my children with grammar. "I discovered she wasn’t getting a thorough education at all."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amy,

      A thorough education? I guess that's why most of us at least consider using impressive curricula. If children complete everything as instructed (including grammar), they should end up with a thorough education. But do they? I suppose it depends on the child. My children would just tick off the to-do boxes and move on to the next item, and their education would end up being a waste of time. I'm so glad we threw the grammar workbook away! But I was a bit sad too. I'd hoped that education could be provided by neatly filling in a few impressive workbooks. That would have made things so simple!

      I'm glad to hear I'm not the only person to experience this. It's good to be able to look back and share a laugh!

      Delete
  9. Yes! Ellipses and I meant to use that form :p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mandy,

      I hope you didn't think I was pointing out you hadn't used the right form! The singular form was the right one for your sentence. I was just musing over an unfamiliar word. Now I know. Thank you for sharing that. I can now say I love using ellipses. Doesn't that sound so much better than saying I love using 3 dots???!!! Now I want to know something else: Is it acceptable to use exclamation points and question marks at the end of the same sentence? Sometimes I want to use both.

      Delete
  10. "Or it could be that individual punctuation is acceptable these days." Grin.
    Yep, I think that's it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary,

      "individual punctuation"... I like that too. It's sounds much better than being clueless!

      Delete
  11. I confess, I absolutely love that book - 'Eats, Shoots & Leaves'. And sadly enough, I can totally relate to the author when she wanted to attack a poster in the window which had the apostrophe in the wrong place! I am no grammar expert by any means, but I do have my 'moments'......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda,

      I never thought I'd enjoy a book on punctuation so much. I absolutely love "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" too. So many people put apostrophes in the wrong place on notices. I also have my 'moments'. I wonder why no one notices... perhaps no one cares!

      Delete

A post is only a post until someone comments. Then it turns into a conversation. Please stop and say hello!