Style question

A lot of our members have user names that are all lower case, and I honour their style when refering to them in a post. But I’ve convinced myself that, just as with other words that are usually all lower case, I should capitalize the first letter when beginning a sentence with such a user name.

What say y’all?

Also, a bonus question. Looking at my use of “refering” above, I recall that as a wee Texan, I was taught to double the ending consonant when using the ‘-ing’ form of a word. That’s obviously a rule in retreat, but not completely. Many words that always got the double consonant no longer do, but many still get it. Is there a new rule, or are we just flirting with anarchy?

P.S. - I hate it, but sadly I must report that “irregardless” appears to be winning the usage battle.

I’ve never seen “refering,” so I don’t think any rules have been changed.

As for the style issue, maybe it’s a personal decision more than a cut-and-dry rule. That is, thems who prefer their name remain lowercase even when beginning a sentence are entitled to this distinction, whereas thems who think capitalizing it is the way to go are entitled to that opinion as well.

I find that the best solution is to always place all user names in bold face type. Even when a sentence begins with a lowercase name, the bolding makes it obvious that it is intentional. Bolding also makes it a lot easier to locate specific responses to your posts within a given thread.

Just like mathematical symbols have rules of priority (can’t remember the name of that rule) my rules have different priority levels.

I find it hard to submit a sentence without capitalizing the first letter unless the first word is someone’s dopername, and it’s first letter is not capitalized.

With the exception of annoyingly long names containing caps like EddyTeddyFreddy I always make them bold.

Is there a word to mean ‘to make bold’?


I’m with Zenster. I feel as if I’m flouting all the rules and regs of grammar and style by starting a sentence with an address to a user with a lowercase name, and keeping it lowercase – but “emboldening” it works well. The English class student deep inside this wolf stands down and relaxes. :slight_smile:

to make bold = embiggen. Don’t worry if you can’t find it in the dictionary, it’s a perfectly cromulent word.

I guess I’m the opposite. I think that how the holder of the name writes it wins out over style rules that didn’t forsee the popularity of names beginning with lowercase letters. I feel funny if I’m capitalizing the first letter of a name that isn’t supposed to be capitalized. Like when I see eBay referred to in print and paragraphs begin with “EBay.” It just looks weird.

What do we do with sentances starting “de Gaulle”?


“To bold” seems standard.

Now why don’t you bolden her name? That’s just discrimination!

(Besides, you can do what I do and cut and paste their name. Works great for names like dorkusmalorkusmafia, and Lord knows if I spelled that one right.)


My take on it is that ordinarily, a letter in the middle of a sentence isn’t capitalized, but a capitalized name overrides that rule. Likewise, then, a letter at the beginning of a sentence is typically capitalized, but a lowercase name overrides that, as well.

Besides, I work a lot with computers, and many computer programs treat capital and lowercase letters as different characters, so the name “Bibliophage”, for instance, is distinct from the name “bibliophage”. The latter is the name of a member of this board, whereas the former isn’t the name of anyone or anything in particular. So if I start a sentence with “Bibliophage”, to whom am I referring? Not to the dude who write twisted oversexed versions of classic literature and Staff Reports (adjective ambiguity intended), because that’s not his name.

And Nobody’s Fool, everyone knows that verbing weirds language.

Then who is this guy, Chronos? :stuck_out_tongue:

The American Heritage Dictionary (1985)

boldface tr.v. -faced, -fac-ing, fac-es 1. To mark (copy) for printing in boldface. 2. To print or set in boldface

Merriam-Webster, however, doesn’t recognize boldfacing as a word.

moriah doesn’t care whether you capitalize moriah’s name or not.

Moriah’s cool that way.


No, that guy isn’t Chronos. This guy is Chronos. That guy is Kimg Ardor.

Everyone’s a comedian.

Here’s my attempt at the bonus question, Ringo
It just happennnnnnned out of nowhere:confused:
One day I was a child being throttled by my grammer teacher to double the letters if endding in ‘ing’. - next thiing I know,
the dictionary bible changed all the rules without as much as a footnote of an explanation.:frowning:
so, my guess is yes! we are ‘flirtting’…:wink:
(:smack: OgNabbit, I hope this is propel english!)

and btway, i yam not a comedianyetifnevereither!

Good post, skyzoo.

Yup, things just started moving around, irregardless of what we’d been taught.

I haven’t seen a rule for the consonant reduction as of yet.

You double the consonant of a two-syllable word if the previous syllable is accented, as in “occur”. Otherwise, as in “travel”, you don’t.