Please, World—A Small Request

My husband thinks this post is the equivalent of my inner old man raising a shaky finger to the air and lecturing whomever will listen, “Missy, back in my day . . . .” If you’re in no mood for a rant on a dying grammar rule, you may want to click about elsewhere.

It sure is hot down here in Texas. I guess it’s the sweltering heat that’s got me all riled up, but I just can’t take it anymore.

First let me say, I make mistakes, way too often. And I am trying to shove my anal hat onto the top shelf of the closet, I really am. But I was a copyeditor once upon a time, and the good Steve O. trained me well. So . . . there’s just one thing I’d like to request of people wielding pens and keyboards, out there, everywhere.

If you’re writing a title, and it has the word is in it, PLEASE CAPITALIZE IT!

Now, I’m not really a verb girl. I prefer adjectives, being the emotional type. Nouns are handy, especially if you’re trying to avoid undue gesturing, but I can’t keep the damn things straight in my post-childbirth brain to save my life. Adverbs get confusing. (How wrong is it to split an infinitive? Let the debate begin!) And perhaps my under-functioning thyroid is to blame, but verbs too often leave me tired.

Still, no one can deny the importance of verbs. Verbs are all about action. Without them, not a lot would get done. And in the Hall of Verbs, “to be” gets dibs on the throne. It is, after all, in charge of our very existence. It doesn’t get much more important than that.

That’s why I cringe every time I see is getting no respect. With increasing frequency, it seems, I see the poor little dude, uncapitalized and alone in the middle of a title, Danny DeVito in a lineup of Terminators.

Come on! Let’s get on board about this. Too much disrespect and we might give the little guy a Napoleon complex. Typing out at exactly two letters, is is already challenged in the girth department, do we really need to go threatening its height? All it’s got going for its image is its tall ascender; let’s not take that away, too.

That’s all we need, in this land that idolizes action stars and fake cowboys and basketball players who rise like a Phoenix on a forklift, is to give a complex to the verb that defines our very existence. Love of overinflated ego meets deep-seated linguistic insecurity? People, it’s a perfect storm. Global warming’s got nothing on this.

© Amy Daniewicz

4 thoughts on “Please, World—A Small Request”

  1. Love this! Thanks for the kick in the tail reminder! :) Will make sure that all my “IS’s” is capitalizes. ;)

    1. That’s funny because I have shaken my fist quite a few times–but AT the Chicago Manual of Style–for my ongoing inability to find anything in its one zillion pages.

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