Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Grammar Geeks: More Help Needed

Okay, all you fine grammar minds, answer me this:

Why is 'freshens' the only word uncapitalized in the above tagline "Cleans Teeth & freshens Breath"? Is it a typo? Are 'Teeth' and 'Breath' considered proper nouns and 'Cleans' gets capped because it begins the sentence? Or is 'freshens' simply getting disrepected?

Update (11:00am): Let's settle this issue as to whether the f is upper or lower case. Building off of Gibby Limp's astute observation, let's closely compare the 'f' in 'freshens' with the lower case 'f' in 'Lifters' and the upper case 'F' in 'Flouride'.

First, the 'f' in 'freshens':

Now, the lower-case 'f' in 'Lifters':

And finally, the upper-case 'F' in 'Flouride':

Ok now, which does the 'f' in 'freshens' more resemble?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Previous grammar questions here and here.

19 comments:

Justin said...

I think it is capitalized, but it just looks really stupid. If not, then your explanation would be the only thing that makes sense.

Josh S. said...

The font they chose just has an odd-looking capital F.

Eric Karros said...

I know the photo doesn't come through very well, but it's definitely not capitalized (I have that actual toothpaste).

Gibby's Limp said...

To tell if it's capitalized, compare it to the "F" in Fluoride above it, and the "f" in Lifters 2 lines below it. It doesn't look capitalized to me either, EK.

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

I think it is capitalized.

Dusty Baker said...

If you want to really get down and dirty with the grammar, you could question why it says "Whitening" instead of "Whitens" or possibly "Whitener."

LLCoolL said...

It is proper form to not capitalize made-up words like "freshens".

Xeifrank said...

If this box is printed in China, then I'd say the grammar is perfect.
vr, Xei

Steve Sax said...

XF, if it was printed in China, shouldn't it be "Colkate"? Or "Golkate"?

karina said...

It's not a problem of grammar, it's a problem of the design of the type. If you look carefully the height of the case in the "F" is the same as its fellows "C", "T" y "B", which means the "F" on that typeface was not well-thought in terms of legibility (imho)

By the way, what Justin and Josh said summarize my comment :)

Eric Karros said...

I can't believe a debate has brewed over whether the 'f' is upper or lower case. The bend at the top coupled with the fact that the middle horizontal stroke extends on either side of the vertical stroke to me unequivocally demonstrates it's lower-case.

When I get home I'm gonna take my own photo and you guys will all see it's lower-case.

Matt said...

I think it's a font issue as well, but I can't see the actual box. So maybe it is lower case, like you "claim."

If it is lower case, perhaps Colgate just doesn't care about freshness as much as they do about clean Teeth.

This question sounds like a job for Ted L. Nancy (Letters From a Nut)

Steve Sax said...

Also, EK: Are you that hard up for cash that you can't afford a separate mouthwash purchase?

Steve Sax said...

though I should say that in staff meetings, your breath is always minty fresh.

Josh S. said...

Perhaps we should just get the f out and move on.

Steve Sax said...

@ Josh S: Or should we get the F out?

Rob said...

My view on capitalization on 6-4-2 is that all the existing conventions usually used for deciding capitalization are broken, so I capitalize everything, even up to and including prepositions.

Eric Karros said...

For some reason my camera can't focus on the toothpaste close-up, but I implore you next time you are at the drugstore to seek out the Colgate 2-in-1 toothpaste and look at the 'f' in 'freshens' for yourself.

I have never seen anything so lowercase before.

Eric Karros said...

I swear the phrase 'toothpaste close-up' in my above comment was completely unintentional.