What kind of error is it?

  • elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    majlo said:
    I see. Could I count a capitalization error to a punctuation error? I mean, are these the same kinds of errors by chance?

    No. Capitalization has to do with what case a letter is in (upper or lower case), while punctuation has to do with signals within a sentence that help one read it properly (commas, periods, and the like).


    Senior Member
    I can see the page, and Cambridge lists capitalization under the rubric of Punctuation. That's wrong, I believe. It's wrong according to their own dictionary definition:

    (the use of) special marks that you add to writing to separate phrases and sentences, to show that something is a question, etc:
    His letter was completely without punctuation.
    punctuate http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?dict=CALD&key=64196&ph=on
    verb [T]
    to add punctuation marks to written words so that people can see when a sentence starts and finishes, or that something is a question, etc.


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I have a link I refer to for information on punctuation. I like its style, though I don't always accept everything it says.

    I expected it to confirm, though, that the upper/lower case question is not punctuation. So off I went, click.

    Shock horror - there is an entry in the index for Capital Letters. So with some nervousness I went click again.
    Capital letters are not really an aspect of punctuation, but it is convenient to deal with them here.
    Well that's OK then:)


    Senior Member
    UK English
    I've just checked a couple of texts - the Oxford Concise and Quirk's Comprehensive Grammar. They both include initial letter capitalisation as punctuation. Come to think of it, where would you put it? You could hardly dedicate a chapter to capitalisation.


    Bulgarian, Bulgaria
    Very interesting indeed... Never thought about it before.
    Capitalisation might be put discussed in Style or in Punctuation... Depends on the context realy. If you're critically examining... cummings for instance-it's style on the surface and much much more (if any):)
    If I was just checking a student's dictation or a test (whatever), I would have put it as a punctuation I think-even though in most cases it's just over looked (due to chatting routine-but that's another matter:)


    Senior Member
    UK English
    cuchuflete said:
    Given the brevity of the rules...about a sentence worth...why not keep discussion of capitals under Style?
    The Oxford has it under Style > Punctuation.


    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I think you could, indeed, dedicate a chapter to capitalization. In fact, that's the way it was done in my grammar books when I was in school: there was a chapter each for capitalization and punctuation.

    There are quite a few rules for capitalization in English. Off the top of my head, I can think of the following:

    -first word in a sentence
    -first word in a direct quote
    -the pronoun I
    -proper nouns (with many, many subcategories)
    -proper adjectives
    -titles preceding a name ("Mr. John Smith," "President George W. Bush," "Uncle Sam," etc.)
    -common acronyms (NASA, FBI, USA, etc.)

    I find it peculiar that the first of these rules should be included under punctuation.


    Senior Member
    Here's what Fowler has to say, before a lengthy discussion of stylistic preferences....

    "Apart from certain elementary rules that everyone knows and observes, [he wrote this before the advent of chatspeak and widespread laziness:rolleyes:] such as that capitals are used to begin a new sentence after a full stop, to introduce a quotation, and for proper names and those of the days and months, their present use is almost as anarchic as that of hyphens."
    -A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, H.W. Fowler, 2nd ed. p. 72