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Is this the end of upper case?

27th May, 2024

Is this the end of upper case?

ALL CAPS WRITING FEELS LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING.  DON’T DO IT.

 

But capital letters at the beginning of a sentence?  Essential.  Or so I thought…

 

Last week I was a guest speaker at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education.

 

And one student piped up:

 

‘I work a lot in the start-up space, where most emails are written entirely in lower case, as people don’t have the time to capitalise words. Do you think it’s the end of upper case?’

 

This was the first I’d heard of this trend.

 

Is this just virtue signalling of the highest order – tech bros boasting about their 120 hour working weeks and hustler Huel-fuelled lifestyles?

 

Is anyone really too busy to press the shift key?!

 

But it’s perhaps not just hustle culture to blame. Maybe it’s a generational one too.

 

My Gen Z son isn’t a fan of upper case either, saying that ‘it’s not a big deal on texts, so why should it be on email’?

 

So is this sayonara to sentence case? Au revoir, upper case? Cheerio, capitals?

 

I don’t think so.

 

Whilst I call myself a reformed grammar pedant, I do still believe in basic grammar convention.

 

Why? For ease of reading.  Capital letters and full stops/periods help us make sense of sentences.  Where we need to stop/start and consolidate meaning.

 

I also believe the quality of our emails reflect:

 

  1. Our personal brand
     
  2. The respect we are giving to our reader

 

Leaving out punctuation and capital letters shows we care more about our own needs (writing quickly) than our reader’s needs (receiving an easy-to-read email).

 

Never a good idea.

 

So my question for you is:

 

Do you ever receive emails written all lower case? How do/would they make you feel?

 

I’d love to know.

accenture
UBS
Ricoh
Euromoney
University of Cambridge

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