Where we get the words uppercase and lowercase

Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope

Where We Get the Words Uppercase and Lowercase

In Microsoft Word, you can use the keyboard shortcut Shift+F3 to change selected text between upper case, lower case, and title case.

  1. Highlight all the text you want to change.
  2. Hold down the Shift key and press F3.
  3. When you hold Shift and press F3, the text toggles from sentence case (first-letter uppercase and the rest lowercase), to all uppercase (all capital letters), and then all lowercase.

Note

If you are using a laptop or an Apple Mac, the function keys may not be enabled without the use of the Fn key. You may need to hold the Fn key, in addition to the Shift key, when you press F3.

If you're not able to get the Shift+F3 shortcut to work in Microsoft Word 2007 or later, you can try the following option instead.

  1. In the menu bar, on the Home tab, click the Change Case icon, which has an uppercase 'A' and lowercase 'a.'

Where We Get the Words Uppercase and Lowercase

  1. Select the appropriate option from the list of values. For example, if you want to change to all uppercase letters, select the UPPERCASE option. If you want to change to all lowercase letters, select the lowercase option.

Where We Get the Words Uppercase and Lowercase

Tip

Use our text tool to convert any text from uppercase to lowercase.

Additional information

Change the capitalization or case of text

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You can change the capitalization, or case, of selected text in a document by clicking a single button on the Home tab called Change Case.

To change the case of selected text in a document, do the following:

  1. Select the text for which you want to change the case.

  2. Go to Home > Change case  .

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To capitalize the first letter of a sentence and leave all other letters as lowercase, click Sentence case.
    • To exclude capital letters from your text, click lowercase.
    • To capitalize all of the letters, click UPPERCASE.
    • To capitalize the first letter of each word and leave the other letters lowercase, click Capitalize Each Word.
    • To shift between two case views (for example, to shift between Capitalize Each Word and the opposite, cAPITALIZE eACH wORD), click tOGGLE cASE.

    Tips: 

    • To apply small capital (Small Caps) to your text, select the text, and then on the Home tab, in the Font group, click the arrow in the lower-right corner. In the Font dialog box, under Effects, select the Small Caps check box.
    • To undo the case change, press CTRL+ Z.
    • To use a keyboard shortcut to change between lowercase, UPPERCASE, and Capitalize Each Word, select the text and press SHIFT + F3 until the case you want is applied.

Insert a drop cap

Choose AutoCorrect options for capitalization

To change the case of selected text in a document, do the following:

  1. Select the text for which you want to change the case.

  2. Go to Home > Change case  .

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To capitalize the first letter of a sentence and leave all other letters as lowercase, click Sentence case.
    • To exclude capital letters from your text, click lowercase.
    • To capitalize all of the letters, click UPPERCASE.
    • To capitalize the first letter of each word and leave the other letters lowercase, click Capitalize Each Word.
    • To shift between two case views (for example, to shift between Capitalize Each Word and the opposite, cAPITALIZE eACH wORD), click tOGGLE cASE.

    Tips: 

    • To apply small capital (Small Caps) to your text, select the text, and then on the Format menu, select Font, and in the Font dialog box, under Effects, select the Small Caps box. Small Caps shortcut key: ⌘ + SHIFT + K
    • To undo the case change, press ⌘ + Z .
    • To use a keyboard shortcut to change between lowercase, UPPERCASE, and Capitalize Each Word, select the text and then press fn+ SHIFT + F3 until the style you want is applied.
See also:  "memento" or "momento"?

Insert a drop cap

Choose AutoCorrect options for capitalization

PowerPoint for the web supports changing case. See the procedure below.

Word for the web doesn't support changing case. Use the desktop application to open the document and change text case there, or else you can manually change the casing of text in Word for the web.

  1. Select the text you want to change.

  2. Go to Home > More Font Options > Change case.

    Where We Get the Words Uppercase and Lowercase

  3. Choose the case you want to use.

Why do we use capital and lower case letters, and how did both types come to be?

Where We Get the Words Uppercase and LowercaseCapitalization rules tend to vary by language and can be quite complicated.  It is widely understood that the first word of a sentence and all proper nouns are always capitalized. However, what is not so clear is the origin of the upper case distinction that has become common practice, especially in regards to Modern English. To unmask the origin of the capital letter we need to refer to a script derived from the Old Roman cursive called uncial.

Uncial is a majuscule script, a synonym meaning “large or capital letter,” commonly used by Latin and Greek scribes beginning around the 3rd century AD. The word is derived from the Latin uncialis meaning “of an inch, of an ounce.”

The first use of the word uncial, and thus the possible origin of its modern meaning, is from St.

Jerome’s preface to the Book Of Job and the following passage: “Let those who so desire have old books, or books written in gold and silver on purple parchment, or burdens (rather than books) written in uncial letters, as they are popularly called.” It is believed that St. Jerome is referring to the uppercase letters within the text.

In addition, as St. Jerome makes reference to – the move from the rough writing surface of papyrus to the smoother parchment and vellum made possible a more rounded single stroke writing style instead of the former angular, multiple stroke style.

The original twenty-one letters in the Latin alphabet are derived from the uncial style of writing. As the Latin alphabet was adapted for other languages over time, more letters were added that also incorporated the majuscule lettering thus giving us the Modern Latin alphabet from which the English alphabet is derived.

Why Are There Uppercase and Lowercase Letters?

Did you see that? Right there…back at the beginning of that first sentence. What are we talking about? The word “Did,” of course! Did you notice anything strange about that word? Did you? For example, did you notice that it contained one letter twice but it looked different each time it appeared?

“Did,” when it appears at the beginning of a sentence, starts out with an uppercase “D” and ends with a lowercase “d.” They're the same letter, but they look different. Have you ever given any thought to how strange that is? Why can't all letters simply be the same? Why do we have both uppercase and lowercase letters?

When it comes to letters, case refers to whether letters are written in larger uppercase form, which is also often known as majuscule or capital letters, or smaller lowercase form, which is also known as miniscule or small letters. For example, the first three letters of the alphabet in uppercase form are A, B, and C. Those same three letters in lowercase form are a, b, and c.

Historians believe that majuscule or uppercase letters came first. The first alphabets were written entirely in large majuscule letters, evenly spaced between well-defined upper and lower bounds.

Over time, however, it was only natural that smaller versions of each letter would develop. This probably happened as letters were written quickly. To save time and space, letters became smaller and more rounded as scribes hurried to finish their work.

These smaller versions of letters eventually evolved into an entire miniscule set of letters. Compared to majuscule versions, the miniscule versions offered improved and faster readability in addition to being easier and faster to write.

At first, scribes would only use majuscule or miniscule letters, but not a mixture of both. That changed over time, though. Although there were no official capitalization rules in the English language until the early 18th century, scribes had traditionally written certain letters, such as nouns and the first letters of sentences, in a larger, distinct script for hundreds of years.

Today, lowercase letters are used most frequently, with uppercase letters reserved for special purposes, such as capitalizing proper nouns or the first letter of a sentence. The terms “uppercase” and “lowercase” come from the way in which print shops were organized hundreds of years ago.

Individual pieces of type were kept in boxes called cases. The smaller letters, which were used most often, were kept in a lower case that was easier to reach. Capital letters, which were used less frequently, were kept in an upper case. Because of this old storage convention, we still refer to small letters as lowercase and capital letters as uppercase.

The distinction between uppercase and lowercase letters doesn't exist in all languages, though. Certain Eastern and Asian writing systems, including certain Indian, Chinese, and Japanese alphabets, do not distinguish between uppercase and lowercase letters.

Letter case

This article is about the orthographical and typographical concept. For the similarly-named grammatical concept, see Grammatical case. For the minimalist musical subgenre, see Lowercase (music).
“Capital letters” redirects here. For the 2018 song by Hailee Steinfeld and BloodPop, see Capital Letters (song).

Distinction between alphabetic letters in taller, “upper” case and shorter “lower” case

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The lower-case “a” and upper-case “A” are the two case variants of the first letter in the English alphabet.

Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger upper case (also uppercase, capital letters, capitals, caps, large letters, or more formally majuscule) and smaller lower case (also lowercase, small letters, or more formally minuscule) in the written representation of certain languages. The writing systems that distinguish between the upper and lower case have two parallel sets of letters, with each letter in one set usually having an equivalent in the other set. The two case variants are alternative representations of the same letter: they have the same name and pronunciation and are treated identically when sorting in alphabetical order.

Letter case is generally applied in a mixed-case fashion, with both upper- and lower-case letters appearing in a given piece of text for legibility.

The choice of case is often prescribed by the grammar of a language or by the conventions of a particular discipline.

In orthography, the upper case is primarily reserved for special purposes, such as the first letter of a sentence or of a proper noun, which makes the lower case the more common variant in regular text.

In some contexts, it is conventional to use one case only.

For example, engineering design drawings are typically labelled entirely in upper-case letters, which are easier to distinguish individually than the lower case when space restrictions require that the lettering be very small.

In mathematics, on the other hand, letter case may indicate the relationship between objects, with upper-case letters often representing “superior” objects (e.g. X could be a set containing the generic member x).

Terminology

Divided upper and lower type cases with cast metal sorts.Layout for type cases.

The terms upper case and lower case may be written as two consecutive words, connected with a hyphen (upper-case and lower-case – particularly if they pre-modify another noun[1]), or as a single word (uppercase and lowercase). These terms originated from the common layouts of the shallow drawers called type cases used to hold the movable type for letterpress printing. Traditionally, the capital letters were stored in a separate shallow tray or “case” that was located above the case that held the small letters.[2][3]

Majuscule (/məˈdʒʌskjuːl/ or /ˈmædʒəskjuːl/), for palaeographers, is technically any script in which the letters have very few or very short ascenders and descenders, or none at all (for example, the majuscule scripts used in the Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209, or the Book of Kells). By virtue of their visual impact, this made the term majuscule an apt descriptor for what much later came to be more commonly referred to as uppercase letters.

Minuscule refers to lower-case letters. The word is often spelled miniscule, by association with the unrelated word miniature and the prefix mini-.

This has traditionally been regarded as a spelling mistake (since minuscule is derived from the word minus[4]), but is now so common that some dictionaries tend to accept it as a nonstandard or variant spelling.[5] Miniscule

Making title capitalization & case conversion easy. Automatically capitalize your titles & email subjects. Use Title Case, AP, APA, Chicago, MLA style, UPPERCASE to lowercase, & more

Title Capitalization Rules by Style

Chicago Style is one of the most used and respected headline capitalization methods used in journalism. The rules are fairly standard for title case:

  1. Capitalize the first and the last word.
  2. Capitalize nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions.
  3. Lowercase articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions.
  4. Lowercase the ‘to’ in an infinitive (I want to play guitar).

See Chicago Manual of Style Guide

Making sure you have the right capitalization for APA headings is crucial for scholarly articles. The following rules apply to APA headline capitalization and title capitalization:

  1. Capitalize the first word of the title/heading and of any subtitle/subheading
  2. Capitalize all major words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns) in the title/heading, including the second part of hyphenated major words (e.g., Self-Report not Self-report)
  3. Capitalize all words of four letters or more.

Making sure you have the right capitalization for MLA headings is crucial for scholarly articles. The following rules apply to MLA headings:

  1. Capitalize the first word of the title/heading and of any subtitle/subheading
  2. Capitalize all major words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns) in the title/heading, including the second part of hyphenated major words (e.g., Self-Report not Self-report)
  3. Capitalize all words of four letters or more.

AP style capitalization is mainly used by writers for the Associated Press but is also used widely throughout journalism. The capitalization rules are as follows:

  1. Capitalize words with three or more letters.
  2. Capitalize the first and the last word.
  3. Capitalize nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions.
  4. Lowercase articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions.
  5. Lowercase the ‘to’ in an infinitive (I want to play guitar).

NY Times style capitalization is mainly used by writers for the NY Times but is also used widely throughout journalism. The capitalization rules are as follows:

  1. Capitalize major words, e.g. nouns, pronouns, verbs.
  2. Capitalize the first and the last word.
  3. Capitalize nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions.
  4. Lowercase articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions.

Wikipedia editors must follow certain capitalization rules for any posts to Wikipedia. The capitalization rules are as follows:

  1. Capitalize major words, e.g. nouns, pronouns, verbs.
  2. Capitalize the first and the last word.
  3. Capitalize nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions.
  4. Lowercase indefinite and definite articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions.
  5. Prepositions that contain five letters or more.
  6. The word “to” in infinitives.

See Wikipedia Style Guide

Popular Capitalization FAQs

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