Majuscules or capital letters (in the Roman alphabet: A, B, C, ...) are one type of case in a writing system. Compare minuscule (a, b, c, ...). Majuscules and minuscules are also known as uppercase (or upper case) and lowercase (or lower case) letters, respectively.

Some languages make no distinction between majuscules and minuscules. Latin was originally written using only one set of letters, those which we now call capitals.



In alphabets with a case distinction, majuscules are used for:

  1. capitalization,
  2. acronyms,
  3. better legibility, for example on signs and in labeling, and
  4. emphasis in some languages.

Majuscules sometimes are used for typographical emphasis in Internet text in place of bolding or italicizing. However, long spans of text in all uppercase are harder to read because of the absence of ascenders and descenders found in lowercase letters, which better aid recognition. In printed material where acronyms require a string of uppercase letters, they are frequently reduced in size by a point or more to make them easier to read. In electronic communications, it is often considered in very poor "netiquette" to type this way because it can be harder to read and because typing in all majuscules can be seen as tantamount to shouting.

Capitalization is the writing of a word with its first letter in majuscule and the remaining letters in minuscule. Capitalization rules vary by language and are often quite complex, but in most modern languages that have capitalization, the first word of every sentence is capitalized, as are all proper nouns. Some languages, such as German, capitalize the first letter of all nouns; this was previously the case in English as well.

The terms "upper case" and "lower case" derive from Gutenberg's use of two separate drawers, or cases, to store capital letters and small letters. The former were stored in his upper case; the latter, in his lower case.

Other meanings

Sometimes also a manuscript itself is called Majuscule, for example the majuscule Codex Vaticanus.

See also

External link

cs:Majuskule da:Majuskel de:Majuskel es:Mayúscula eo:Majusklo fr:Capitale et majuscule gl:Maiúscula nl:Kapitaal (hoofdletter) ja:大文字 no:Majuskel pl:Majuskuła zh:大寫字母


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