Capitalization is Evil

I'm an organized person. (My sticky notes might argue otherwise, but I never listen to them anyway.) I like it when things have a set of rules or guidelines and actually follow them. English grammar is not one of those things. My beef today is specifically against capitalization. It is evil because it is fairly arbitrary and never agrees with itself. During the proofing of EUD, I realized I didn't know the rule for capitalizing a noun like "king" or "commander" in certain situations. So, like all good writers, I investigated.

The internet informed me that, in short, no one knows. I checked sites built specifically for simple understanding of grammar (like sites geared toward learning ESL - English as a second language) and sites discussing grammar rules as they applied to college and beyond with rules and exceptions so precise I'm still not convinced they really exist.

The best I could come up with is to treat it like we treat the words "mom" and "dad" - that is, when the noun is used as the person's name, it's capitalized. When it's not, it's not. While not all sites agreed with this (and gave me bizarre examples of contradictions that I unfortunately can't find to link here for your amusement), I think it reads the best that way and is easier on the eyes and the brain. I think of it like I do the rule about possessive apostrophes on words that end with an "s" sound - pick a type and stick with it. (I am in favor of the "no 's after s, z, x, or other s-sounds" so my book has it written as Mahliz' instead of Mahliz's. Argue amongst yourselves; you're both right.)

Personally, I wish we would adopt the German rule for capitalization: if it's a noun (of any kind) or the first word of a sentence, capitalize it. If not, don't. Easy peasy. Rules like that make it easy to pick out the important Words in a Sentence and eliminates Confusion about when Something should have a capital Letter.

Since I find this change to be highly unlikely, I will suffer through it and continue with the theory of picking what seems to work best and staying consistent.

Beware the capitals. Down that way lay frustration and madness.