To the Editor:

Informal Style of Electronic Messages Is Showing Up in Schoolwork, Study Finds” (news article, April 25) :

While it is understandable that writers of e-mail and text messages find it quicker to write in lowercase, I hope that this practice will not carry over to more formal business correspondence and essays.

Using capital letters to start sentences is similar to indenting, or doublespacing, to indicate paragraph divisions. The practice makes it easier for readers to move through a piece of prose.

As a reader, it is harder to keep one’s place, or to locate a key passage, if one is faced with a large block of words. If writers stop using caps, the next step may be the elimination of spaces between words.

As a former teacher of writing and rhetoric, I emphasized that writers should be sensitive to the needs of their audience. Keeping caps in standard English is one way of showing concern for readers.

Kathleen C. Kern
East Setauket, N.Y., April 25, 2008