Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

As seen on CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox, Wired, Yahoo!, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal
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Getting what you want: Why capitals and punctuation still matter

This is what old people talk about over lunch: how degenerate youth no longer use capitals and punctuation when writing. At least that’s what I did over lunch today with a few middle aged friends.

This is especially important to me because I’m in the business of selling clear writing. Having done so for many years, this much I know: the clearer you write, the better chance you have of avoiding confusion and getting what you want.

A few years ago, a recent college graduate and aspiring writer emailed me to ask for help in getting a job. He used no capitals, punctuation, paragraphs—let a lone line breaks. It was just one huge blob of text.

After trying and failing to decipher his first few sentences, I stopped reading around the 15% mark and hit delete. I suspect others treated him the same.

In other words, if you make it hard for people to help you, they probably won’t. So do everything you can to make things easier for the people you’re asking help from. For the time being, if not foreseeable future, that includes capitals and periods.

That might not always be the case. When this text blob generation fully takes over, I’m sure they’ll figure things out just as past generations did before them. I also realize that not all youth avoid clear communication.

But for any on the fence, please take note: capital letters and punctuation still make the world go round. Oh, and it’s weird to see society change in front of your eyes, whereas before you used to be the change.