1. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    Capitals and Italics

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tyler Danann, Mar 19, 2014.

    Hi gang.

    Just really stuck on whether to capitalize magic objects / high-technology items in my book?
    The words I have for them are varied as there are several types.

    Also for obscure, faction-specific words that describe races or character classes - should I make them in italics also?
     
  2. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

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    I wouldn't use italics in any of these cases. Capitals can be used if you're describing something that works less like a word and more like a name or to make it more new- or important-sounding. It's up to you, though. My suggestion is to each time you write a word like this capitalise it when you feel that works best and not when it makes most sense not to, but not spend any time on this. Go back later and standardise (so that each word and type of words is never or always capitalised) when you've finished the book. If it's supposed to sound foreign, new, impressive or important, generally I'd go for capitals while if you want the reader to realise that something is second nature to the characters in your story I'd use lower case. For example if an alien civilisation came into contact with us they might refer to us as Humans, but after a while if we wound up living side by side in harmony they might refer to us as humans in small letters because the word had become more like words like "boy", "girl", "man", "woman", "person" and "people", and we'd probably do the same with whatever they call themselves. This reflects the "intented usage" of capitals (when used this way); everything that's treated as part of the "normal language" is entirely in lower case letters whereas that which is unfamiliar and has to be specified as a group rather than a word the reader is unfamiliar with is capitalised. A capitalised word doesn't need to be understood or translatable, it's merely a placeholder and distinguisher between it and other names or groups and serves as a name that can be used to be identified with or used to ask or search for information about it or them, whereas other words are expected to be understood and if they aren't they are to be looked up or at least understood or even learnt from the context given.
     
  3. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    Hmmm, interesting.
     
  4. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    What I'm going to do is drop the italics for everything but thought-waves etc, but keep the capitals for the races and high-technologies etc.

    Thanks.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Italics as you describe are for emphasis. I'm not clear about what @Bjornard Munkerud is saying.

    It's not emphasis one uses caps for, it's titles.

    "her mom" - mom is a regular noun
    "where is Mom?" - that is a particular mom and Mom is being used as a name like "where is Sally?"

    "all kings"
    "the King"
    "a universe"
    "the Universe"
    "a boy"
    "come here Boy"

    Now, when it comes to groups of people, or special weapons, is it a category or a name?

    "a rifle"
    "an AR 15"
    "native to the Americas"
    "Native American"

    It's a little less clear with races and ethnicities. Let me find a source and get back.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
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  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Specific ethnicities are capitalized. Where it's gotten more muddled is with unofficial versions like Whites and Blacks which are not derived from countries or regions.
    http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/when-do-you-capitalize-references-to-people.html

    The following link was interesting because it discusses a news media standard, "The Associated Press Stylebook":
    http://www.diversityinc.com/ask-the-white-guy/why-the-b-in-black-is-capitalized-at-diversityinc/

    It's a tad politicized so I'm not citing it as a source of grammar but rather as a source of political issues with some grammar.
     
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  7. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    Okay thanks for your responses guys and girl babe. I'm removing the italics for the majority of the stuff but leaving it in for the vehicle names and airborne craft names also. I've seen a lot of books do that with the names of ships and things.

    The Artifacts in the book are like a category of wonder-items so I'll be keeping it capitalized with them also I think.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Not sure what you decided on italicizing specifically but I found this source:

    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/italics.htm
    This is new to me so I shall just leave it with the reference.
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Not sure what you decided on italicizing specifically but I found this source:

    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/italics.htm
    This is new to me so I shall just leave it with the reference.
     
  10. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    Yep the context of the naming is like a ship or car being named, not the factory name. :)
     
  11. HallowMan
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    HallowMan Banned

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    On italicizing I.

    Recently, in a post, I put an I in italics, intending to indicate: "I am speaking only for myself and not other people".

    Later, I realized that it appeared to mean that I thought that I was the one person who did things correctly, even though other people were wrong. This extremely offensive position is not at all what I meant. I changed it.

    I strongly favor expressing these ideas with words. You can say what you are trying to say more precisely and clearly. It is less likely that you will create an impression you do not intend.

    For Expert Advice: http://www.collegetransferessay.com/our-college-transfer-resume-writing-services/transfer-letters-writing-service/
     

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