Sunday, June 1, 2014

What Century is this?

People often write "19th Century" or "18th Century" or "21st Century." Why do they uppercase Century? Is a century special?

It's part of an epidemic of uppercasing. I've recently proofread books in which Nearly Half the Words were Uppercased. That's often an example of a Non-Writer trying to be Cool or Someone trying to make his writing seem Important.

Miss Lula Mae Smith hit the Century mark today, it says in the newspaper. She turned 100.

What Century was Shakespeare born in?

She was born at the Turn of the Century. (Of course this makes us wonder which century is turning.)

If you see a story about the movie studio 20th Century Fox, then century should be uppercased. Someone out there will probably give my an example why century should be uppercased; I half expect it.

But most of the time, there's no reason to uppercase century.

CONTACT: I can be reached at or Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.

Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie

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