Guaranteed to improve your English

(this headline intentionally written all lower case)

I received the following email:

this is mark fish i come back here in the state and i ask of your fund $4.8 and the home land security told me that is still in there office and i need to inform you if you still need in just emaill me your new address now for the urgent delivery
thank mark fish
call me or text (404­448­2­27­3

Although the name is Mark Fish (I’ll capitalize it correctly, thank you), the email address is from an A. Rodriguez, and it ends “.mx,” making it from Mexico. Maybe it was also written by somebody who speaks Spanish as a first language — the person certainly doesn’t speak English as a first language.

I counted 21 errors.

Also, please, nobody call or text that number.

Until next time! Use the right words!


April 25, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

When to Capitalize the Academic Title

In my last post, I discussed the proper usage of academic departments. Today, I dive into academic titles. These can include professor, assistant professor, associate professor, instructor and department chairperson, to name five.

The rule: It depends where you place the title. Capitalize before the name, lower case after it. So, Chairman John Smith and John Smith, professor.

But what about this one: department Chairperson John Smith. It’s correct because of the rule from yesterday’s post: department is only capitalized when part of a specific department at a specific school. So, UCLA Department of Education Chairperson John Smith is correct.

But what about UCLA department Chairperson John Smith? This is also correct because it doesn’t name the specific department, so department isn’t capitalized.

I hope you’ll now understand this enough to graduate.

Until next time! Use the right words!


August 28, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In What Department Do You Teach?

For many, school has started, or it will soon. So, now is a time to remind people how to correctly write the departments where they teach.

You write most departments, such as math, geography, political science and biology,  in lower case. Similarly, the word department would be lower case.

You capitalize departments such as English, Spanish, French and German because you would normally capitalize these words, but you would not capitalize the word department in these cases.

However, if you have a specific department from a specific school, you would capitalize it thusly: UCLA Department of Communications. Take away the school, and you have a communications department or department of communications.

Next time: academic titles. Stay tuned.

Until next time! Use the right words!


August 27, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Netflix: A Case of Caption Writing Gone Wrong

In the using-the-real-words system, the people are represented by various important rules…

I usually don’t deal with grammar rules, but I saw something on Netflix the other night that shocked me.

I watch movies and TV shows with the captions on because 1) I can watch at a lower volume so as to not awaken anyone; and 2) I’m lazy.

So while viewing an episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” I saw a name written in lower case.

Huh? WTF?

People, people, people! How can you miss this one? It’s one of the most basic rules of English. When using the right words, CAPITALIZE NAMES!!!

I really need to find a job writing captions.

Until next time! Use the right words (and capitalize them)!

March 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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