Grammar people...Do you always capitalize the 1st letter in a sentence?

So, I’m in a pickle. I work with a company that uses their name in all lowercase at all times. For instance, if the company name was billpayer, then they’d have billpayer Pro or sign up now for billpayer service…etc.

Now, they are saying that even if the name is used at the beginning of sentence, they want the lowercase version. Whaaa?!? Isn’t the first letter of a sentence ALWAYs capped?

So it would look like: Sign up for billpayer Pro in the next 10 days and get a prize. billpayer Pro is the solution you need…

Doesn’t that look just WRONG! I need backup here. Apparently my 2 degress in English are not enough.

Copyright and trademark overrule capitalization rules. So, we have company names like ebay and eFunds. Dumb, seeing as how they put capital letters at the beginning of proper nouns to make them stand out. You might want to point out to them that they’re intentionally making it harder to notice their company name, not easier.

For what it’s worth, my company’s name is in a similar format, with a lowercase first letter and a capitalised second. I’ve suppressed my urge to capitalise the first letter successfully, and now can write sentences starting “iCompany’s latest technology initiative successfully leverages global synergies driving profits to a new paradigm of optimisation”.

If your company’s name is in all lowercase, then I weep for you.

So I tried to find eBay at the top of a sentence on their site–no luck to see which way they go. But, I did find an article where they did indeed cap the E:

They also do it it titles. Hmm.

Yes lno…they are in all lowercase. Sigh. I worked at and they didn’t mind the caps.

Hordes of Apple software and hardware reviewers have had reason to curse their wordprocessors’ overzealous auto-capitalization features as they’ve written reviews on the iMac, iBook, iPhoto, iTunes, etc etc. — no, they don’t get capitalized at the front of a sentence.

Non-capitalised brandnames are a fairly new phenomenon, so there’s no standard procedures. For example, eBay gets capitalised here too. And a Google News search for bmibaby produces mixed results.

Many newspapers routinely ignore the funny letters, as do writers who don’t believe in coddling companies that they don’t work for. Since you do work for this company, the Golden Rule applies: “he who has the gold makes the rules.”

I think there will always be some exceptions. “a” is the lowercased initial letter of the alphabet. has to have the ‘a’ lowercase, no?

In general, I would cap words than don’t normally take it (like yours), but let eBay etc. go – since there’s a cap there, even if it’s not quite right.

For a comparison think about van Gogh. “Van” is not normally capitalized, despite being a proper name but is at the start of a sentence.

Van should always be capitalised if the first name isn’t used: Van Gogh, but Vincent van Gogh.

Similarly, IIRC, Yahoo! considers the exclamation mark part of their name. A recent correspondence to them seemed so wrong with all the interjections and uncapitalized sentence beginnings littered throughout.

What to do when your boss disagrees with every grammar guide, style book and editor in the English-speaking world.

Your boss wins, of course. But you can still be a passive-aggressive sneak.

italicize your company name everytime it appears. italicize company may look dweeby to an editor, but he’ll know it’s just a trade name and ignore it, and I bet your boss will think it’s cool.

I’m sure they could claim precedent with the Victorian folly of Westward Ho!

Based on my everyday observations:

English teachers wiil say: Always capitalize first word of a sentence. Revert to peferred irregular spelling in text.

Print journalism: Always capitalize in a headline when newspaper uses all-caps format, and always at the beginning of a sentence. For companies like eBay, products like iMac and artists like e.e. cummings or fictional characters like archy the cockroach.

Internet-based publications: the tendency is to do both, although I see where the skew is slowly moving towards not capitalizing.

Blurbs on TV news: use the company logo where appropriate; use ALL CAPS format in most teletype announcements.

Who’s got an up-to-date style manual?

Similarly with Oklahoma!.

The other thing you can do is simply write around it. Use them big ol’ English degrees. Like a bludgeon.

Instead of saying ‘billpayer is the answer’ write ‘The answer is billpayer.’

I must say that I second Fish’s motion. As an English major myself, I would wrack my brain trying to find clever ways to keep the lowercase company name from ever appearing at the beginning of a sentence. It makes my teeth hurt just to think of it…

I notice that several of the people in this thread complaining about lowercase company names have lowercase SDMB usernames. I’ve always gone out of my way to keep usernames exactly as they appear in the user’s posts whenever I use them, even if they appear at the start of a sentence. Usernames are obviously proper nouns, so I always assumed non-capitalization was a deliberate attempt to be idiosyncratic, which should be respected. kunilou may find sentences about or addressed to her/him difficult to read, but it’s his/her own damn fault! :wink: iampunha and the others are in the same boat.

sj2, don’t you think maybe you’re being a bit hypocritical? :smiley:

e.e. cummings would agree that they need not be capitalized.

In the current mode of popular American haiku poetry a minimalist approach is traditional in capitalization and punctuation. Most haiku are written entirely in lower case.