After more than 150-plus years of Navy communications being in all-caps text, the military branch is finally letting capital letters’ smaller siblings in. Blame (or maybe give credit to) texting.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Since the 1850s, every message and order from the U.S. Navy LOOKED LIKE THIS.

No more, according to The Wall Street Journal, which in its article about the Navy’s change (from all-caps communications to mixed-case text) got cute and used all caps, a headache that will spare its readers. (The headline will suffice, thank you.)

Way back when, the Navy sent orders and other messages in all caps out of necessity; teletype machines simply didn’t have lowercase letters. Tradition, a staple in the Navy, has kept them that way.

So, why the change? Using nothing but capital letters in a message has taken on a whole new meaning. Young sailors who are texting and social-media savvy see all-caps messages as akin to shouting, and though they’re undoubtedly accustomed to hearing raised voices daily, it’s probably a good idea for them not to be reading orders as if they were being screamed at.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.