Small capitals are just what they sound like: they look like this. They have only one common use: certain abbreviations are commonly written in small capitals. In particular, the abbreviations bc and ad are usually so written:
- Alexander the Great died in 323 bc.
- Charlemagne was crowned in Rome on Christmas Day, ad 800.
Recall too that American usage prefers to write the time of day with small capitals:
- (A) The earthquake struck at 6:40 am.
A few publishers have recently adopted the practice of putting all abbreviations in small capitals, but this is not something you should imitate.
Many word processors can produce small capitals; if you can't produce them, use full capitals instead:
- Alexander the Great died in 323 BC.
Copyright © Larry Trask, 1997
Maintained by the Department of Informatics, University of Sussex