Monday, May 18, 2009

Capitalization in Europe

As an American, I like to capitalize things. And as a journalist for my college newspaper, I had specific training in which words of a title are capitalized and which are not.

But in Europe, I've had to set all that training to the side. In headlines, titles and subtitles, the first word is capitalized, and only proper pronouns afterwards. So the headline "Man Walks On the Moon" would be "Man walks on the moon." Yeah, anticlimactic, I know.

But because each language has its own rules for capitalization, title casing a line confuses people reading English as a second language.

EUROPEAN: Why are you capitalizing "walks" in that sentence?

ME: Well, "Walks" is an important part of that sentence.

EUROPEAN: Is it the man's name? Are you trying to say, "Herr Walks arrived on the moon?"

ME: No. "Walks" is a verb. It's something important.

EUROPEAN: "Walks" isn't that important.

ME: But the Man Walked On the Freaking Moon!

EUROPEAN: You mean on the moon?

ME: Yes, On the Moon!

For this reason alone, I think we should give our moon a name. I'm thinking "Brad."

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