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Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive » It’s just become standard practice

It’s just become standard practice

Me, Myself and I:

Why do we capitalize the word “I”? There’s no grammatical reason for doing so, and oddly enough, the majuscule “I” appears only in English.

Consider other languages: some, like Hebrew, Arabic and Devanagari-Hindi, have no capitalized letters, and others, like Japanese, make it possible to drop pronouns altogether. The supposedly snobbish French leave all personal pronouns in the unassuming lowercase, and Germans respectfully capitalize the formal form of “you” and even, occasionally, the informal form of “you,” but would never capitalize “I.” Yet in English, the solitary “I” towers above “he,” “she,” “it” and the royal “we.” Even a gathering that includes God might not be addressed with a capitalized “you.”

There are some interesting points brought up here, but what strikes me is that it has become common practice, valid or not. If you attempt to write anything without capitalizing your “I”s, you will generally be viewed as too lazy to have proofread your work. This will come from the same people who email small “i”s on a regular basis.

I suppose in the arena of avante-garde, this falls away though. But that’s not culturally mainstream, so I wouldn’t think that it applies.

It is certainly worse than the arguments that start over the capitalization of god, but far less silly.

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