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We have created a game where children can learn Vegetables and Fruits. When the child answers a question they receive a notification to tell them whether they got it wrong or right.

My opinion is that the capitalization of the letters should not be in sentence case, so for example,

Wrong Answer - Try Again

is incorrect in my opinion. I think it should be

Wrong answer - try again

i.e. written as a normal sentence.

Is there a particular way it should be?

For reference purposes, here is the game just in case my question does not make sense. Click on a vegetable to see the message. http://freeteacher.co.uk/game.aspx?qf=game_vegetables

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    In the game, there is no dash. The text appears closer to a sign than a sentence, with 'Wrong answer' set above 'Try again'. – Bobbi Bennett May 17 '12 at 17:26
  • This game would be useful for training some of the cashiers I've come across in my city. They often don't know what the vegetable is that I'm buying! – Fuhrmanator May 17 '12 at 19:56
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For English grammar, I think it should be: "Wrong answer. Try again."

However, there's possibly a technical argument in graphical user interface design that says that title case with little punctuation is more effective in feedback to users. That discussion would be best for another forum, however. Perhaps in User Experience?

  • The reason I posted this here is that I feel we have a social responsibility towards the children. We don't want to be responsible for teaching them bad grammar habits since we are an educational site. User Experience is of course important and it does need to be intuitive for the children but I guess there needs to be a balance in terms of our social responsibility as well as an effective User Experience. Thanks for answering – Khuram Malik May 17 '12 at 19:27
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Although you're teaching word recognition, the whole experience should be useful to the child. So the text certainly should not have an initial capital on every word [is that really "sentence case"?] because that's not how language is used normally. The message is not a newspaper headline.

I'm not sure what age-group your game is aimed at, but I might think twice about the rather bald "Wrong answer" and prefer "That's not right" instead.

  • It's aimed at between 3 to 6 year olds. It's primarily a UK site but we do have a global audience, but great point regards the direct statement. It should not be so harsh. – Khuram Malik May 17 '12 at 19:25
  • I should have noticed the *.uk domain name. In that case, since Brits Don't do US-style Headlines, the messages should reflect British usage. – Andrew Leach May 17 '12 at 21:02
  • Not at all. Even for British usage it's a little bold. I'm going to definitely consider re-wording that. Thank you. – Khuram Malik May 18 '12 at 8:30
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As an alternative to Fuhrmanator's idea, use of a semi-colon may be more "correct" as the two sentences form independent clauses but are semantically related.

Wrong answer; try again.

However from a GUI standpoint I would be of the opinion that this is even worse.

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