Caps On, Caps Off

We’re on the cusp of fall. Well, at least Lauren is, in Chicago. Caro, on the other hand, will tell you that Miami is doing anything but cooling off.

“Here,” Caro explains, “fall, winter, spring, and summer basically equate to summer, slightly less-intense summer, summer, and oh-my-goodness-I-can’t-leave-my-house-for-fear-of-going-up-in-flames summer, respectively. Ugh.”

Anyhow, as social media outlets are blowing up as people celebrate the long-awaited arrival of fall’s crisp evenings and bonfire-scented air, we’re reminded that seasons often suffer from improper capitalization. It seems like a fitting time for a refresher on some time-of-year-related capitalization rules people just can’t seem to wrap their heads around, doesn’t it?

Caps on, caps off! (To the tune of this, of course.)

Let’s go ahead and start with seasons. While fall, winter, spring, and summer might seem like momentous, specific events—ones celebrated by solstices and skipping around maypoles—they are not actually proper nouns. Winter is not a holiday; spring is not a place. The point is the following: Please stop capitalizing seasons!

Days of the week? Keep ‘em in caps (well, the first letter, anyway). Holidays? Sure. But you all need to quit it with the shift key when it comes to the seasons.

Next topic! Since we mentioned holidays, let’s talk a little about those. The writing out of holiday names seems to reveal a commitment issue other than the kind we girls commonly (and perhaps unfairly?) accuse the men in our lives of having (sorry, guys). A capitalization commitment issue, if you will.

Scouring internet holiday references yields mentions of “Valentine’s day,” “New Year’s eve,” and other such offenses. It’s as if the guilty start off loving capital letters, but then doubt rolls into their minds. “Do I really like them? Are they worth keeping around? Maybe we need some time apart.” And so we end up with holiday names gone wrong. We’re here to say that, in this case, you shouldn’t be afraid of commitment! Commit to capitalization for holidays, friends. In other words, people celebrate Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Columbus Day, Christmas Eve, etc. And Halloween and Easter, of course, but we assume you’re all pretty clear on those.

The last rule we picked to round out our capitalization discussion today is one that completely surprised us. We’ll start like this: Raise your hand if you say “Daylight Savings Time” and write it out just like that, capital letters and all. Before researching this topic, Lauren and Caro would have definitely had their arms proudly waving in the air, proclaiming, “Of course, that’s correct!” Well, on this day, our worlds have been shaken, albeit mildly.

When we took to the internet to verify that “Daylight Savings Time” was correct before sharing it with you, we discovered that we were wrong. About two things. (Caro would like to take a moment to point out how well this applies to the situation.) First of all, nothing in the phrase is capitalized! And secondly, we must drop the second s of the second word. That’s right, people. The correct way to write it all out is “daylight saving time.”

Actually, some debate exists over whether to place a hyphen between daylight and saving. The pro-hyphen side sees the words “daylight” and “saving” as forming a compound modifier that describes time. Caro has now enthusiastically declared herself a member of the hyphen-supporting set, as she inexplicably really enjoys compound modifiers. She is also willing to bet that the no-hyphen side is more apathetic than actually convinced there is a specific reason to omit the hyphen. Despite being a fan of compound modifiers in general, Lauren favors the non-hyphenated version, as Caro suspected, out of pure indifference. She just might change her mind, though, so keep tabs on this groundbreaking development as it occurs.

So choose freely between daylight-saving time and daylight saving time. Just remember: no capital letters, and no savings.

That’s all we have for you today regarding capitalization. The only other thing we can offer is this song, which is catchier than the common flu and is currently stuck in our heads. We’re spreading the love. Enjoy!

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One thought on “Caps On, Caps Off

  1. egeedee says:

    Random capitalisation really Grinds my Gears. I worked for a newspaper for four years and I did not understand why it was so hard for people to learn such basic grammar.

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