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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 19th day of Hiding, Yr 20
The Neopian Times Week 73 > Articles > Avoiding Capital Punishment

Avoiding Capital Punishment

by shidi

LENNY LIBRARY - In recent weeks, I've been receiving a lot of Neomail. Most of it concerned whether or not I had died or quit playing Neopets during the holidays (I haven't done either, thanks for asking!), but one in particular struck me as an excellent springboard for an article topic. This particular letter was rather well-written, and posed a single question that can be best summed up as: What are the rules for Neopian capitalisation? Well, I'm glad you asked that - this article is for you, and everyone else that has been confused by this issue.

What is a Capital?
Because some Neopians seem to have a problem with this very basic concept, we'll include this little section here. If you've managed to pass second grade language arts, and you can find your shift key, you can just skip right on ahead to the next section. For the rest of you, the dictionary defines a capital letter as follows: A letter written or printed in a size larger than and often in a form differing from its corresponding lowercase letter; an uppercase letter. There is a miraculous function of your keyboard that will help you in your quest to capitalise things - the Shift key. Pressing your shift key and any letter on your keyboard will make that letter uppercase, or capitalised, if you will. Try it sometime; it's not that hard to stretch your little pinky over and hit Shift.

Just like our world of Earth is always given a capital letter, so too is the world of Neopia capitalised As a citizen of Neopia, you are a Neopian - just like a citizen of America is an American. The specific areas of Neopia are regions, and as such, are also capitalised Faerieland, (The) Lost Desert, Meridell, and so on. If your Neopet visits The National Neopian Bank , this would be an occasion for capitalisation. However, if he just 'going to the bank', no capital would be needed. A visit to the Back To School Shop would be capitalised, while 'visiting the shop for school supplies' would not.

Specific names of Neopian denizens, such as Illusen, Balthazar, and Hubrid Nox are all capitalised just like Bob, Mary, and Frank of our world would be. If someone has a title in addition to their name, that too would be capitalised: Fyora the Faerie Queen, King Skarl, Princess Vyssa. Familial titles such as 'our mother, Sarah' or 'his brother', do not get a capital letter. That's just the breaks. In Neopia, there are some creatures that even have 'the' preceding their commonly accepted name. This is generally not capitalised along with the rest of their name, as follows: the Money Tree, the Esophagor, the Turmaculus, the Brain Tree.

Species names, such as Kyrii, Elephante, and Kiko, always receive a capital letter. This is perhaps best equated to the real-world practice of capitalising nationalities, such as Irish, English, Italian and not directly relating to our practice of giving animal species lowercase letters such as chimpanzee, tiger, mouse. PetPets, similarly, would receive a capitalisation - the Slorg, the Warf, the Angelpuss. As far as colours of pets and/or PetPets goes, if the colour is a non-capitalized word, leave it as such when referring to the pet's colour. Harry is a striped Grarrl, for example. When the word itself is capitalised (Christmas and Halloween), then capitalise when using it as a pet colour: Bruno_Shroud is a Halloween Ixi.

When referring to a specific brand name (Neocola, Usuki) a capital letter should always be used. A can of Neocola only needs a capitalisation for Neocola, however, as the 'can of' is not part of the product. However, a Magical Hair Usuki would be a specific product put out by Usuki, and therefore, each word is capitalised Non-brand name food - a tigersquash sandwich, or orange chicken, wouldn't need a capital. Similarly, non-specifically named toys would receive no capital. A pet could play with their bouncy ball, or doll. In the case of a species-named plushie, capitalise the species name only. A blue Lupe plushie makes a fine toy, as does a yellow Aisha doll. Games are always capitalised: Gormball, Dice-A-Roo, Poogle Racing.

Never use ALL CAPITALS unless it is for a stylistic reason (setting the location for a story in the beginning of a piece for the Times, for example). Using all capitals is seen as shouting on the Internet. This is not meant to recommend you use all capitals whenever you wish to indicate shouting in dialogue; this is better done with an exclamation point and a descriptive verb. For example: "Help me!" Bob shouted, not "HELP ME!!!" said Bob. Never, ever use capitals haphazardly throughout your words like: "I thInK diS iS kEwL" This will just make you look like a silly person who has no clue of how to capitalise. Also, just say no to chatspeak! "OIC! UR GR8!" is just an eyesore.

Why should we bother to have capitalisation? Isn't it just easier to type without the shift key? Well, easier isn't always better. Properly using capitalisation will benefit you in your writing - both formally and informally. If you are writing a Times story, you have a much better chance of being published if you have included the proper capitalisation, grammar, and punctuation. In your personal communications, you will appear much more polished and literate if you can capitalise appropriately.

The Standard?
While I made every effort to come up with a consistent standard for capitalisation, your version may vary. Most of my information on Neopian standard capitalisation was found through research of the site itself - which was frequently contradictory of itself, and not particularly helpful - and through speaking to other Times authors. If you have a differing opinion, by all means, go forth and capitalise how you choose to; I'm not going to hunt you down for Capital Punishment. Come on... you knew the joke was coming sooner or later, didn't you?

Author's Note: Due to extenuating circumstances (such as time and trouble involved), I will no longer respond to the following Neomails: Beggars, anything written in chatspeak, anything involving NeoQuest, anything HTML-related. Anyone else with a question, problem, complaint, or comment can feel free to Neomail me!

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