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Men: All Upper Case

Dear Matthew Alice:

I've noticed that once free from the bonds of public education, American males tend to write in ALL UPPERCASE LETTERS, or sometimes a mix with mainly UC and a few lowercase letters thrown in. Females tend to use the traditional upper- lower-case style, starting sentences with a capital letter but otherwise using lowercase. Could you find out why?

-- Juanita Jeannine, Lakeside

That's a pretty sweeping assumption, Juanita. Try as I might, I couldn't find any evidence to support it. Graphologists claim it's not true; most men write in cursive style, as do women. For adults, at any rate, cursive is faster than manuscript (printing), so it's usually the choice for note-taking, shopping lists, personal letters, and the like. Men and women will shift to manuscript when they want to make themselves perfectly clear (BE HOME BY MIDNIGHT, AND I MEAN IT!), especially if they feel their cursive style is illegible.

Handwriting studiers have found gender differences in handwriting in students as early as the first years of grade school, when girls write faster and more clearly than boys. And boys don't improve much with practice. In general, men's handwriting remains less legible, less "graceful," and more erratic than women's. That might cause men to shift to uppercase for clarity more often. But the upper/lowercase thing seems to be governed more by the intent of the writer, not gender. So, if the caps have to mean something, I guess it means you know a lot of men with messy handwriting who fret about being misunderstood. And what that means, we can't imagine.

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Dear Matthew Alice:

I've noticed that once free from the bonds of public education, American males tend to write in ALL UPPERCASE LETTERS, or sometimes a mix with mainly UC and a few lowercase letters thrown in. Females tend to use the traditional upper- lower-case style, starting sentences with a capital letter but otherwise using lowercase. Could you find out why?

-- Juanita Jeannine, Lakeside

That's a pretty sweeping assumption, Juanita. Try as I might, I couldn't find any evidence to support it. Graphologists claim it's not true; most men write in cursive style, as do women. For adults, at any rate, cursive is faster than manuscript (printing), so it's usually the choice for note-taking, shopping lists, personal letters, and the like. Men and women will shift to manuscript when they want to make themselves perfectly clear (BE HOME BY MIDNIGHT, AND I MEAN IT!), especially if they feel their cursive style is illegible.

Handwriting studiers have found gender differences in handwriting in students as early as the first years of grade school, when girls write faster and more clearly than boys. And boys don't improve much with practice. In general, men's handwriting remains less legible, less "graceful," and more erratic than women's. That might cause men to shift to uppercase for clarity more often. But the upper/lowercase thing seems to be governed more by the intent of the writer, not gender. So, if the caps have to mean something, I guess it means you know a lot of men with messy handwriting who fret about being misunderstood. And what that means, we can't imagine.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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