Capital and small alphabets

English Alphabet | Writing | EnglishClub

An alphabet is a set of letters or symbols that we use to represent the basic speech sounds of a language in writing.

This page looks at writing the English alphabet. You can read about pronouncing the English alphabet here.

The English word "alphabet" comes from the Latin word "alphabetum". The Latin word "alphabetum" came from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, "alpha" and "beta".

Letters of the English Alphabet

The English alphabet has 26 letters, starting with a and ending with z. Below you see the whole alphabet.

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

The letters above are "small letters". But they can also be written as "large letters" - see below.The letters of the alphabet are also sometimes called "characters".

Small and Large Letters

We can write each letter of the English alphabet as a "small letter" (abc) or as a "large letter" (ABC). Large letters are also called "capital letters" or "capitals".

Below you see the whole alphabet with small letters on the left and capitals on the right:

 a A b B c C d D e E f F g G h H i I j J k K l L m M n N o O p P q Q r R s S t T u U v V w W x X y Y z Z

In informal English, we sometimes call capitals just "caps".

Small letters are sometimes called "lower case" and large letters "upper case". This is because in the old days of printing, before computers, the metal blocks for setting type were kept in two different boxes or "cases": small letters in the bottom or lower case, large letters in the top or upper case.

Font Styles

Printed letters of the alphabet come in different styles or designs. Each style is called a "font". This page shows all 26 characters, as small and large letters, in 5 different styles. Each column displays a different font style, in this order:

  1. Serif: with serifs, or little projections, at the end of most strokes
  2. Fixed-width: like old typewriter lettering - each letter is about the same width, so "i" takes up the same space as "w"
  3. Sans-serif: with no serifs
  4. Cursive: like handwriting
  5. Fantasy: fancy, artistic

Alphabetical Order

The English alphabet starts with the letter a and finishes with the letter z. We always write the alphabet in the same order:



This order is called "alphabetical order". We often write lists in alphabetical order. For example, to write a list of countries in alphabetical order, we start with countries that begin with the letter A, then with countries that begin with B, and so on. For example:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada

If more than one word begins with the letter A, we put them in order based on the second letter, and then the third letter, and so on:

  • Algeria
  • Argentina
  • Belgium
  • Benin
  • Bermuda

We use alphabetical order for many things, for example:

  • dictionaries
  • indexes of books
  • telephone directories

When you write any list, it is a good idea to use alphabetical order. This makes it easy for your reader to find a particular item in the list.

English Alphabet - Worldometer

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The English alphabet consists of 26 letters. Each letter has an uppercase ("capital letter") and a lowercase ("small letter") form.

# Capital
1 A a /eɪ/, /æ/ a
2 B b /biː/ bee
3 C c /siː/ cee
4 D d /diː/ dee
5 E e /iː/ e
6 F f /ɛf/ ef
7 G g /dʒiː/ gee
8 H h /(h)eɪtʃ/ (h)aitch
9 I i /aɪ/ i
10 J j /dʒeɪ/ jay
11 K k /keɪ/ kay
12 L l /ɛl/ el
13 M m /ɛm/ em
14 N n /ɛn/ en
15 O o /oʊ/ o
16 P p /piː/ pee
17 Q q /kjuː/ cue
18 R r /ɑːr/ ar
19 S s /ɛs/ ess
20 T t /tiː/ tee
21 U u /juː/ u
22 V v /viː/ vee
23 W w /ˈdʌbəl. juː/ double-u
24 X x /ɛks/ ex
25 Y y /waɪ/ wy
26 Z z /zi/zɛd/ zee/zed


  • Five of the letters in the English Alphabet are vowels: A, E, I, O, U.
  • The remaining 21 letters are consonants: B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, V, X, Z, and usually W and Y.
    Written English includes the digraphs: ch ci ck gh ng ph qu rh sc sh th ti wh wr zh. These are not considered separate letters of the alphabet.
  • Two letters, “A” and “I,” also constitute words.
  • Until fairly recently (until 1835), the 27th letter of the alphabet (right after "z") was the ampersand (&).
  • The English Alphabet is based on the Latin script, which is the basic set of letters common to the various alphabets originating from the classical Latin alphabet.

Old English

  • The Old English alphabet letters were 29: A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T V X Y Z & ⁊ Ƿ Þ Ð Æ
  • The Old English alphabet was recorded in the year 1011 by a monk named Byrhtferð and included the 24 letters of the Latin alphabet (including ampersand) and 5 additional English letters: Long S (ſ), Eth (Ð and ð), Thorn (þ), Wynn (ƿ) and Ash (ᚫ; later Æ and æ).
  • With respect to Modern English, Old English did not include J, U, and W.

See Also:

  • NATO Phonetic Alphabet

CAPITAL LETTERS - what are they (large or small)? Example

Capital letters are uppercase letters that are larger than lowercase letters.

What are capital letters?

In Russian writing, letters differ in their graphic design: some are large, others are small or lowercase. Large letters are often referred to as capital letters. As can be understood from this "speaking" name, they begin headings, that is, they indicate the beginning of

  • sentences
  • period
  • paragraphs
  • stanzas
  • someone else's speech, etc.

    - By everyone is born for some work, - objected E. Hemingway and added:
    - By everyone who walks the earth has his duties in life.

    In an old style heals me.
    E There is charm in ancient speech.
    About is not like your words
    and are more modern and sharper.

    Bella Akhmadulina

    Capital letters are a common name. In Russian, a special linguistic term is used - capital letters. Once upon a time, at the dawn of handwriting, they were really carefully written at the beginning of a line, and decorated in every possible way to distinguish them from other ordinary letters. Emphasizing the initial letter of the first word is the oldest writing technique that was used before the invention of printing. When typography appeared, the tradition of using capital letters at the beginning of a sentence and to highlight proper names survived.

    Let's consider in detail the cases in which uppercase or lowercase letters are used in modern Russian.

    The use of capital letters

    Capital letters are used not only in headings, at the beginning of sentences, but also to highlight certain words found anywhere in written speech. These special words include

    • proper names;
    • items.

    In Russian orthography, proper names must be written with a capital letter:

    1. names, patronymics, surnames, pseudonyms, nicknames of people, names of gods, mythical creatures, fairy-tale and literary heroes

    • Tanya, Vasilek, Andryushka;
    • Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin;
    • Gaius Julius Caesar;
    • Vladimir Krasnoe Solnyshko;
    • O'Henry (William Sidney Porter)
    • Curly, Chernysh, Beetle, Top;
    • Zeus, Hera, Apollo;
    • Vasilisa the Beautiful, Cinderella, The Nutcracker.

    2. animal names

    • Tortilla turtle;
    • cat Marquis;
    • dog Oliver;

    3. geographical names, except for generic words (krai, region, district, city, settlement, village, river, lake, mountain, sea, bay, etc.)

    • Krasnodar Territory;
    • Saratov region;
    • City of Mosty;
    • Veliky Ustyug;
    • Sokol settlement;
    • Ponizovye village;
    • Volga river;
    • Lake Seliger;
    • Red Sea;
    • Everest.

    4. astronomical names

    • Cygnus constellation;
    • Solar Galaxy;
    • Alpha Centauri.

    The words "Earth", "Moon" and "Sun" as the names of celestial bodies are written with a capital letter and with a lowercase letter if they are used as common nouns. Compare:

    Recently, astronomers have difficulty distinguishing spots on the Sun.

    Rosehip stood with large flowers turned towards the sun, covered with many buds (K. G. Paustovsky).

    Note that in proper names all words , their components, are capitalized , except for nouns denoting generic concepts and service words, for example:

    • city of Rostov-on-Don;
    • Ludwig van Beethoven;
    • Vicomte de Bragelonne;
    • Vasco da Gamma.

    In this way, proper names differ from the names of organizations, institutions, industrial associations, architectural monuments, etc.

    In titles, capitalize only the first word , for example:

    • Socio-Political Research Foundation;
    • Research Institute of Road Engineering;
    • Main Department of Internal Affairs;
    • House of scientists;
    • Bronze Horseman.

    The name may contain more capital letters if it contains a proper name, for example:

    • Kristall Association;
    • Information Telegraph Agency of Russia;
    • Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory;
    • Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.

    The capital letter is also used in pronouns you, you, your in documents, business letters when addressing one person politely.

    Uppercase and lowercase letters / Sudo Null IT News

    I have gathered here some not so obvious facts about uppercase and lowercase letters that a programmer may encounter at work. Many of you have translated strings into “all uppercase” (uppercase), “all lowercase” (lowercase), “first capital, and the rest lowercase” (titlecase). Even more popular is the case-insensitive comparison operation. On a global scale, such operations can be quite non-trivial. The post is structured as a "collection of misconceptions" with counterexamples.

    1. If I convert the string to uppercase or lowercase, the number of Unicode characters does not change.

    No. The text may contain lowercase ligatures, which do not correspond to one character in upper case. For example, when translating to uppercase: fi (U+FB00) -> FI (U+0046, U+0049)

    2. Ligatures are a perversion, no one uses them. If they are not taken into account, then I'm right.

    No. Some letters with diacritics do not have an exact match in other case, so you have to use a combined character. Let's say the Afrikaans language has the letter ʼn (U+0149). In upper case, it corresponds to a combination of two characters: (U+02BC, U+004E). If you come across a transliteration of Arabic text, you may encounter (U+1E96), which also does not have a single-character match in upper case, so you will have to replace it with (U+0048, U+0331). The Wakhi language has a letter (U+01F0) with a similar problem. You may argue that this is exotic, but there are 23,000 articles in Afrikaans on Wikipedia.

    3. All right, but let's consider a combined character (involving modifying or combining code points) as one character. Then the length will still be preserved.

    No. There is, for example, the letter "escet" ß (U+00DF) in German. When converted to uppercase, it turns into two SS characters (U+0053, U+0053).

    4. Okay, okay, got it. We will assume that the number of Unicode characters can increase, but not more than twice.

    No. There are specific Greek letters, for example, (U+0390) that turn into three Unicode characters (U+0399, U+0308, U+0301)

    5. Let's talk about titlecase. Everything is simple here: I took the first character from the word, translated it into uppercase, took all the subsequent ones, translated it into lowercase.

    No. Let's remember the same ligatures. If a word in lowercase begins with fl (U+FB02), then in uppercase the ligature becomes FL (U+0046, U+004C), but in titlecase it becomes Fl (U+0046, U+006C). The same with ß, but, theoretically, words cannot begin with it.

    6. Those ligatures again! Well, we take the first character from the word, translate it into uppercase, if more than one character is obtained, then we leave the first one, and the rest back into lowercase. Then it will definitely work.

    Won't work. There is, for example, the digraph dz (U+01F3), which can be used in text in Polish, Slovak, Macedonian or Hungarian. In uppercase it corresponds to the digraph DZ (U+01F1), and in titlecase it corresponds to the digraph Dz (U+01F2). There are other digraphs. The Greek language, on the other hand, will please you with jokes with hypogegrammen and progegrammen (fortunately, this is rarely found in modern texts). In general, the uppercase and titlecase variants for a character can be different, and there are separate entries for them in the Unicode standard.

    7. Good, but at least the result of converting a character's case to uppercase or lowercase does not depend on its position in the word.

    No. For example, the Greek capital sigma Σ (U+03A3) becomes a lowercase ς (U+03C2) at the end of a word and σ (U+03C3) in the middle.

    8. Oh, okay, let's process the Greek sigma separately. But in any case, the same character in the same position in the text is converted in the same way.

    No. For example, in most Latin languages, the lower case for I (U+0049) is i (U+0069), but not in Turkish and Azeri. There, the lower case for I is ı (U+0131) and the capital case for i is İ (U+0130). In Turkey, because of this, enchanting bugs are sometimes observed in a variety of software. And if you come across a text in Lithuanian with accents, then, for example, a capital Ì (U + 00CC), which will turn not into ì (U + 00EC), but into (U + 0069, U + 0307, ​​U + 0300) . In general, the result of the conversion also depends on the language. Most of the complex cases are described here.

    9. What a horror! Well, let's now correctly convert to uppercase and lowercase. Comparing two words case-insensitively is not a problem: we translate both into lowercase and compare.

    There are also many pitfalls that follow from the above. For example, it will not work with German straße and STRASSE (the former will not change, the latter will turn into strasse). There will also be problems with many of the other letters described above.

    10. M-yes… Maybe then everything is in the uppercase?

    And it won't always work (although much more often). But, say, if you come across the notation STRAE (yes, there is a big escet in German and Unicode too), it will not match straße. For comparisons, letters are converted according to a special Unicode table - CaseFolding, according to which both ß and SS will turn into ss.

    Learn more