Did you ever wonder why we capitalize the word “I” but do not capitalize other pronouns, not even “we”?

This practice vexed the poet-preacher Henry Van Dyke nearly a century ago, and he came up with an interesting explanation.

English is the only major language to capitalize its first-person singular pronoun.

“How monumentally imposing is that upper case ‘I’!” wrote Henry Van Dyke in 1920. “If a writer is egoistic the capitals stretch across his page like a colonnade. When he writes ‘we,’ he descends to the lower case.

“But this orthographic solipsism, mark you, is shared by Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders,–all who use the English tongue. It is therefore not to be set down to insularity, but to individualism,–a stark, ineradicable, valuable quality of these various folks whose thoughts and feelings have been nourished by the same language.”

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