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The capitalization of NOT


Does this bother anyone else? To me, it's worse Board Etiquette than using Caps Lock and yelling out the entire post.

  1. Yes, it infuriates me. Rude bastards.

    1. Along with BEST, WORST, AUTHENTIC, and REAL, just to name a few????? With a million question marks???????? Annoying I agree.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Samalicious

        I would just like to say this is NOT a problem with me! Ok??????????

        1. re: jrvedivici

          I would like to point out that your post would have been much more effective had you followed standard practice to use multiple exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          For the record: all posts by me on this thread ARE intended as sarcasm.

          1. re: kengk

            I CONCUR !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (better?)

      2. We deliberately chose to make posting on Chowhound a pretty plain text experience, not offering the ability to change fonts, sizes, colors, etc. But some people do want to denote emphasis in their writing, and all caps is one of those ways. Personally, I like to emphasize things like *this*, but I don't attach more or less meaning to ways other people do it.

        I often say here on Site Talk that we encourage people to read everyone else's posts as charitably as possible, assuming good faith and pleasant, friendly tone unless there's explicit reason not to. This is one of those instances where it can help -- just assume they're adding emphasis in the way that makes the most sense to them and they intend nothing more angry or aggravated than that.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jacquilynne

          Do you support <em>emphasis</em> in HTML? Evidently not. Why not?

        2. one or two words for emphasis in a sentence? No biggie, especially since it's not possible to use italics, boldface, or underlines.

          Entire sentences and/or paragraphs? Ugh.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sunshine842

            As mature adults, it is up to us to look at the message contained in the post and make the decision of whether or not the emphasis should bother us that day, just like every other decision we make in the course of a day.

            1. re: carolinadawg

              Well said. Whomever wrote that has a lot of sense.

          2. Hell, I hate any poor use of grammar, punctuation, or capitalization I see. On any website. But, then I realize, it's SO insignificant.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MGZ

              I agree. I try to go with Jacquilynne's "read everything in the most charitable light" philosophy. You are only hurting yourself if you let get worked up or stew over something so trivial.

              As for capitalizing "not" -- it's an important word, and one that can easily be overlooked (I publish state regulations, and we once got an error report that the word "not" was missing from a regulation; on further research it turned out it had been missing for almost 30 years!). I don't have a problem with it being capitalized for emphasis.

            2. I'd rather italicize it, but don't think we have the capability here to do so. So as a default method, it's fine with me.

              1. 'NOT' is not capitalized.

                In the context of a board like this, uppercase (of the whole word) is an easy way of adding emphasis to a word. In spoken word we would put stress on the word. If hand written we might underline it. In print we might use a bold font.

                1. No, it does not bother me. In fact, I have often used capitalized "not" here. It isn't about yelling, but of emphasis. To me, I just want to make sure the readers do not miss the fact that it is an action not to be taken. Usually, I use the bold font or color font, but neither is possible here.

                  For example, I often typed:

                  If the pan catches on fire, either uses a fire extinguisher, or put a lid on it. Do NOT pour water into an oil/grease fed fire.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    +3 or 4 great example
                    emphasis in context,regarding a curve in context should work for all when we have only caps for an option

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I could be a horrid pedant, and prefer to use the present perfect:

                      "I've often typed". You are still alive, and you aren't specifiying a specific time or period.

                      In the 1970s, I often typed on an IBM Selectric.

                      I've often wondered what happened to that old thing.

                      I am being facetious, of course.

                      An emphatic all-caps is fine. (Capitalization could sound biblical: Though Shalt Not Pour Water). But with parcimony. Do not over-salt.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        I find it ironic that in a thread about the misuse of a word, many of us confuse all-caps with capitalization.

                        1. re: paulj

                          Many of us haven't taken grammar or keyboarding since high school.

                          If you hadn't mentioned it, I'd consider Caps Lock/using upper case to be the same thing as capitalizing. Besides, the attempt at a play on words in my title doesn't work with the use of Caps Lock or upper case, instead of capitalization.

                          1. re: prima

                            And in "my day", it wasn't called keyboarding. It was called typing. :-)

                            I view Caps Lock for a full sentence or several sentences to be considered shouting. And it's a PITA to try and read, too. Capitalizing all the letters on one word, as ChemicalKinetics used just above, is for emphasis, since this message board doesn't have a way to bold or underline or italicize a word.

                          2. re: paulj

                            Indeed. I do hope you weren't accusing me of that! ;-)

                        1. re: Servorg

                          Reminds of a not too recent thing on TV.

                          A competition between texters and Morse code folks.
                          Texters with all of their short cuts,acronyms,mis-spellings and disregard for grammar resoundly beaten on the clock by the old guys using Morse Code and zero spelling and grammar errors.

                        2. Much like most things, in small doses it's fine. I'll use it on occasion to really emphasize something but it can be very over used.


                          1. "To me, it's worse Board Etiquette than using Caps Lock and yelling out the entire post."


                            3 Replies
                            1. re: twyst

                              How about people who post in all caps but then use a lower case "i" in the middle of it!?!?!? Ugggghhh (joke)

                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                  Easy,the damn cat or mynah bird helps out here.I might not have "set" caps lock therefor when I type I the reverse happens.Is my lazy,lousy typing,English wasn't my first language ass going to fix one thing or the entire thing? Lazy is key here,one thing.

                              1. I really don't mind the capitalization of a word or two for emphasis; I tend to capitalize just the first letter rather than the entire word. What really gets my red pencil ready to strike is the use of an apostrophe for plurals.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Gio

                                  I once took a red Sharpie to a sign in town (I, admittedly, had been drinkin") for apostrophe abuse.

                                  1. re: MGZ

                                    CBS Sunday Morning had a piece on two fellows who made a project (which led to a video and/or book) of rambling around the USA correcting spelling, typos, and grammar on signs and billboards. In most or all cases, they asked permission first.

                                    A friend confessed to attempting to read Fifty Shades of Gray but having to stop. She did not think she could continue without taking a red editing pen to it....

                                  2. re: Gio

                                    Those renegade apostrophe's alway's make me nut's.

                                      1. re: Davwud

                                        There's a reason why we see "strophe" normally preceded by one of two heads..apo and cata... ;-D>

                                      2. re: jmcarthur8

                                        Jacquilynne's C word cannot be employed here, surely.

                                    1. I realize it's the combination of the context and the caps lock that irks me.

                                      Seeing NOT on a post that doesn't interest me doesn't bother me. Seeing NOT as part of an Original Post, to help define what the poster is talking about, to which I might reply later doesn't bother me.

                                      Seeing NOT as a part of what seems like a quick, sharp reply to something I've written is what gets my goat. If the same poster who caps locked her NOT was to reply with a lowercase not in the same sentence, the reply would come across as sharp (to me), it would just comes across as another differing opinion.

                                      Apparently the emphasis part of the the caps lock is working on me, ;-)

                                      Jacquilynne and the others are right. I realize I/we should be trying to read other posts as charitably as possible.

                                      35 Replies
                                      1. re: prima

                                        "Jacquilynne and the others are right. I realize I/we should be trying to read other posts as charitably as possible."

                                        As I have been "saying" for many years, it's essential that people try to read posts in the voice of the poster and not themselves. By that, I mean that there are a lot of folks out there who see an inherent sh*ttiness in words that are not actually intended. To my mind, that comes from their own baggage, not mine (or many others).

                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          Some posters (myself included at times) wear glasses that make them hypersensitive to meanings that might not be there/might not be intended, but some posters are using words/meanings/caps locks/exclamation marks intentionally, to get a reaction beyond emphasis.

                                          1. re: prima

                                            I understand. Nevertheless, please keep in mind, for future purposes, that anything I post is meant in the spirit of good fun and community. If it ever seems like I'm being an as*hole, it's simply because my attempt at humor fell short - simply my own failure with creating the prose.

                                            1. re: MGZ


                                              ....apologies to anyone who is irked by emoticons.

                                              1. re: prima

                                                Excellent! Well played.

                                            2. re: prima

                                              The beauty of reading things charitably is that it works either way. If they actually meant to be friendly and nice, you've taken that at face value and responded in kind. If they meant to be jerks, you've not given them the reaction they were hoping for.

                                            3. re: MGZ

                                              I CONCUR AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                              Honestly I find on these boards similar to life itself these days that people seem to search for ways to take something and make it as if it was intended to be offensive to them.

                                              Like MGZ I too try to keep most of my posts on the side of levity (unlike MGZ I succeed most of the time) however I’m amazed at how many times someone will post a snide remark as if my attempt at humor was an intentional slur towards them. There just seems to be a lack of civility and consideration at times for fellow posters. Stop trying to find ways to be victimized by a post and just move on.

                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                But that's not just here. There seems to be no shortage of people in the world who do nothing but sit around and wait to be offended by something.


                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                  Gosh DT I'm pretty sure that's what I said already, what am I not as articulate as you or something? Get a life!

                                                  (this is a satirical response based on our topic......now just please agree I am funnier than MGZ and we can conclude this discussion!!)

                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                    Stupid reading ytilibasid


                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                      <now just please agree I am funnier than MGZ >

                                                      Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the funniest of them all?

                                                    2. re: Davwud

                                                      "There seems to be no shortage of people in the world who do nothing but sit around and wait to be offended by something."

                                                      Sadly, some of them hold it in, suffer, and eventually let it out on society in horrible ways. "He was a nice boy. Kinda quiet. Kept to himself, mostly . . . ." (Frankly, I'd be happy to never hear that speech from a dead guy's neighbor again).

                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                        Me too. I won't hold my breath but sadly it seems these days, I wouldn't suffocate.


                                                    3. re: jrvedivici

                                                      The converse of my remarks above about asking everyone to interpret things charitably is remembering that lots of things don't come across well in text, and humour is very often one of them. A joke may seem obviously funny and harmless to you, because you can hear it in your head as you write it, but it may seem snide or sarcastic or cold to someone reading it in plain text. I hope people will interpret your jokes in a friendly way, but if they may be misinterpreted as mean-spirited, it may be better to give them a miss.

                                                      1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                        Was I just called to the Principal's office?

                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                          It wasn't meant to be chastising, just wanted to respond to your post, because it was an excellent jumping off point for the other side of the 'read things charitably' thing.

                                                          1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                            It was not taken as chastising at all I was just joking! Thank you though for the consideration shown in your response.

                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                              Ha. And thus all of my points are proven correct by my own misreading ;)

                                                              1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                In the words of John "Hannibel" Smith...."I love it when a plan comes together"..... ;-)

                                                        2. re: Jacquilynne

                                                          < A joke may seem obviously funny and harmless to you, because you can hear it in your head as you write it, but it may seem snide or sarcastic or cold to someone reading it in plain text>

                                                          Let's say that people on both sides (readers and writers) need to be careful. Writers need to understand that many things do not translate well from spoken conversation to text writing, and readers need to understand that some phrases are meant to be funny and not mean spirited.

                                                          Now, that being said, I would consider "misinterpretation" as problem a minor issue on Chowhound.

                                                        3. re: jrvedivici

                                                          Most likely you succeed more than me because I long ago decided to post in my speaking "voice". I use colloquialisms, abbreviations, and "fancy" words interchangeably in real life, so I do so here as well. That's me - the product of many classrooms, courtrooms, boardrooms, dorm rooms, bedrooms, and barrooms. As they say, "If they can't take a joke . . . ." Right?

                                                          Nonetheless, my friend, I'm glad to see you see things correctly (i.e., the way I do). As an aside, is it just me or have there been an unusually great deal of threads bitching about sh*t lately?

                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                            Almost the end of the year. Get the sh*t out now before turning over a new leaf.


                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                              It'll help the kvetchy threads compost better over the winter.

                                                            2. re: MGZ

                                                              They gave us this brand new site for Christmas and yes instead of (?) there is a lot of bitching.Many elves here just aren't happy with what the gnomes in power have done.

                                                              1. re: lcool

                                                                The Horde has no appreciation for the Alliance. For the Horde!

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                  Clearly The Horde is a horde,fine with me.Too much "nice" for the sake of it isn't always honest or healthy.

                                                              2. re: MGZ

                                                                Yes MGZ there does seem to be a lot of negativity lately especially regarding the format changes. I thought it would be a good idea to start a poll to see how many likes we got but some sh*t-head messed that up on me. (Have I noticed an increased use of the root word "sh*t" from you lately?)

                                                                On a side note......although I have counsel on staff I have received a fine from a regulatory agency recently and my counsel instructed me to just pay it and make it go away. Based on my normal ignorant stubbornness I refused and filed my own response. I had the phone conference with the judge and attorney representing the State yesterday representing myself Pro Se. Now my attorney and I have a bet for the amount of my fine if I'm going to win my case on my own! Ha! So you might be getting some legal questions soon.....I'm the boss so I can cheat. lol

                                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                  I told you, man, I can switch from twenty dollar boardroom to nickle barroom when it comes to words. It's simply part of a solid ability to express myself in voice or text (you're kids might wind up with the same skill set once the old nuns are done with 'em). Regardless, if my use of tamed profanity has increased, it's probably because I've sensed a shift in the zeitgeist on these beloved boards.

                                                                  As to you're legal questions, start investing in the best tequila you can find. It's the only compensation I accept these days - except the 12 year old Laird's Apple Brandy (Jersey Strong and all that sh*t right?).*

                                                                  *Also, please note the subtle use of "accept" and "except" in the same sentence.

                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                    <"*Also, please note the subtle use of "accept" and "except" in the same sentence.">

                                                                    Duly noted. However, there's a problem with your use of you're as in, "(you're kids might wind up....)"

                                                                    1. re: Gio


                                                                      I will refrain from using the still available "edit" feature because I deserve to wipe the egg off my face. Well played, my friend, well played!

                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                        Well, I should talk. My typing and grammar mistakes are legendary but I still call them typos and can't help it if the edit time limit has run out. Can I?

                                                                    2. re: MGZ

                                                                      Hahahahaha MGZ your* (Good catch Gio!!!) cracking me up lately...... has someone recently bought you a copy of "How to win friends and influence people"?

                                                                      FYI you are dating yourself my friend there are no longer Nuns in RBC outside of one or two they are all in the convent on Drummond Pl. now. I might have to stop in and pay a visit and ask around about MGZ.

                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                        Just talk SAT scores. Oh, and college football players. And maybe all time demerit records and bleeding knuckles (rulers hurt). Mr. Mont might be the best one to rat me out.

                                                            3. re: prima

                                                              A problem with 'language use' complaints such as yours is that we don't have the context. Most of us thought you were complaining about using caps to emphasize a word or two in a larger post. But you seem to be bothered more by replies that consist solely of 'NOT', presumably as an expression of disagreement with your post.

                                                              But without the specific example(s) that precipitated this complaint, I can't be sure that's the issue.

                                                              I wonder if this is a generational issue. In the 1990s a 'postfix Not!' came into popular use. (look at the Wiki article on 'Not!'). In that original form it negated the speakers own statement, but it's not a bit jump to using Not! or NOT to simply express disagreement with someone else's statement. Texting and Tweeting just adds to a tendency to use short pithy replies.

                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                I remember the 90s Wayne's World "Not!".

                                                                In a way, "Not!" preceeded "whatever", "whatevs", and Really?"

                                                                "Really?" and "REALLLY?" also irk me.

                                                                Maybe it is a generational issue.

                                                            4. I thought this was a wine post and that you were against "chaptalization".

                                                              1. I wonder whether there are international differences in this? Like you say tom-ay-to and I say tom-ah-to. Or spell "colour" differently from how I do.
                                                                Or eat eggplants and not aubergines.
                                                                I have always worked to the basis that to use uppercase on a board is the equivalent of raising your voice in a real conversation, so I don't usually do it. However, many of the major discussion boards I use have a different platform from Chowhound and allow you to use italics to emphasise so I guess that what do here is to use the *star* in place of that. They also operate to European, rather than American, standards of what is acceptable debate and language - and, yes, there are certainly differences.

                                                                It doesnt irritate when folk do put the occasional word in uppercase as there's no board guidance as to etiquette that I'm aware of. Well, not as irritated as when folk post in "txt spk".

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                  "txt spk" puts my stomach in a KNOT...

                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                    ME 2 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                  2. re: Harters

                                                                    Yeah, you people use too many unnecessary "u"s. As Shaw noted, "[T]wo countries divided by a single language."

                                                                    On the other hand, I'll take real words over txtese myself.

                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                        He noted that, but nowadays there are far more than two countries involved.

                                                                    1. What's wrong with upper case? The whole Bible was written in upper case. Hebrew does not have 2 cases, and in the original form, no vowels. Greek minuscule (lower case) was developed in the 9-10th c. In the 1st century they didn't even put spaces between words.

                                                                      16 Replies
                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                        That must have made for difficult reading on IPads back then.

                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                          Wow. Each of those languages predate printing by centuries. They predate the use of instant electronic communication by millennia. Perhaps we should be discussing cuneiform tablets too?

                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                            Those, I would guess, were difficult to edit.

                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                              And expensive to send to a friend.

                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                I believe you would send the friend to the tablets.

                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                  Ideally, but imagine the shipping costs on a thread like this one.

                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                    No, I totally understand and agree with you.

                                                                                    What I said is that you would send the friend to the tablets, not the tablets to the friend. :) Kind of like you will fly your family to see the pyramid, not transporting the pyramid to your family.

                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                      Is this another pyramid scheme?

                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                        I will on the top, and others will be on the bottom. Heck, someone has to be on the bottom, right?

                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                              Hah... me too. (Wise guys)

                                                                              2. re: paulj

                                                                                <The whole Bible was written in upper case>

                                                                                I don't understand why they felt the need to yell.

                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                  Fire and Brimstone...the original "upper case" yelling...

                                                                              3. This thread seems to have pretty much run its course, since it's now descended into pyramid jokes. (Who knew there were so many pyramid jokes to be made?)

                                                                                We're going to lock it now.