Writing in All Caps Comes Across As Shouting

Don't annoy your co-workers and friends by writing in all caps

High Angle View Of Alphabets Over White Background
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One of the cardinal rules of writing online, whether in an email or instant message or on an online forum or social networking website, is to never use all capital letters in your posts or messages.

When you write in all capital letters, most recipients assume you are shouting at them. You should use all caps sparingly. It is a strong effect and should remain one. In only a few cases is using all caps the right choice.

When to Write in All Caps

Just as when you raise your voice when you speak to others, you may sometimes want to make your text appear louder for emphasis. Usually, upper-casing a single word draws attention without the ire of the reader. When you're genuinely upset and would yell the same words you are writing if you were with the recipient, all caps is the way to go. Then and only then is it acceptable to use all uppercase letters in online communication.

All caps are best used only for short strings of words rather than full sentences. You could choose instead to use italics or bold to set off text for emphasis.

Types of Cases

Mixed case (also referred to as sentence case) is the best option for all your online communications. It is familiar to the reader and easy to read. Here are examples of the different cases:

  • All Caps: THIS IS AN ALL CAPS SENTENCE.
  • Mixed case or sentence case: This is a mixed case sentence with only the first word and proper nouns such as John Smith capitalized.
  • Title case: The First Letter of Most Words Is Capitalized in Title Case.
  • All lowercase: this sentence is written all in lowercase letters.
  • Randomly mixed capitalization: ThIs mEaNs you wRitE UsiNg capiTals aT RanDom.
  • CamelCase: This is not usually used for sentences but rather for branding, with a capital letter in the middle of a name, such as FedEx or WordPerfect. When used with a brand, this is acceptable, but that is about the only time you should capitalize characters in this way.