Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
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 sometimes also known as uppercase (or upper case) and lowercase (or lower case) letters, respectively.
In alphabets with a case distinction, majuscules are used for:
- better legibility, e.g. on signs and in labeling, and
- 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. Because it can be harder to read, and also because typing in all majuscules can be seen as tantamount to shouting, it is often considered in very poor netiquette to type this way.
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; however 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.
Sometimes also a manuscript itself is called Majuscule, e.g. the majuscule Codex Vaticanus.
- Codex Vaticanus B/03 Detailed description of Codex Vaticanus with many images.
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