Searching for a noun which describes the letter-casing of words, I came across casing (without a prefix) and capitalization. Searching several dictionaries and translation services, casing seems odd to me, as it refers to other meanings.

Because casing is commonly used here on the English Language 🙵 Usage SE to ask whether a word is capitalized or not, I'm still wondering whether casing is a valid alternative to capitalization.

Can I say something like:

  1. Please fix the casing in your text?

as alternative to

  1. Please fix the capitalization in your text.

Which one is more commonly used?

Here are some examples, where I found casing as a word referring to the capitalization of words:


Found this one on wiktionary:




casing (plural casings) [...]

  1. (uncountable, computing) The collective states of upper and lower case letters. The replacement string should have the same casing as the matched text.
  • 2
    There are some great resources you can use to research a word in many dictionaries at once. For example: OneLook Dictionary Search. Searching for the word "case", it reveals many uses of it as a noun, but only one as a verb, meaning "inspect", as in "case the joint", inspecting a location prior to a robbery.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 16:10
  • Standard terminology in the world of printing is "upper case" and "lower case." The letter in the text is marked by the proofreader with two short lines under it to indicate that it should be upper case (rather than lower), and in the margin the proofreader writes "uc" (or "lc") and circles it, so that the typesetting sees it.
    – Xanne
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 20:49

5 Answers 5


I think the Wiktionary quote gives an important hint: computing. It's perfectly valid to use casing in this sense in the context of programming for example, as you can see on Stack Overflow:

And on other computing sites on the SE network:

You'll also find it used in terms like camelCasing, and PascalCasing.

Looking at the profiles of the users who asked the questions you linked, you'll find that they all have Stack Overflow accounts with some rep. In other words, it would not be unreasonable to assume that they are programmers. It seems to me that casing does not see much usage outside of computing, except where it is used by programmers (but this might change in the future).

"Grammatical casing" is very rarely used (and is perhaps not entirely idiomatic) to mean "grammatical case" (example). The term "[letter] case" (which is equivalent to casing in meaning) sees usage outside computing (particularly in typography) but is easily confused with "[grammatical] case". For this reason, your example may be confusing to some people.

  • Thank you for this comprehensive answer! This perfectly explains, why casing sounds so valid to me but confuses some of the other answerees.
    – Clijsters
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 8:54

If someone grading a paper of mine commented, "Please fix the casing in your text," I would never guess that they meant capitalization. Instead, I would guess that they were referring to the "case" of nouns that Nigel pointed out.

If you are talking to the general public, I'd say that "casing" is NOT a valid alternative to "capitalization." However, if your audience possesses knowledge of very specific, language-related terminology, you might be able to get away with "casing."

If you are looking for an alternative way to say "Capitalization," I'd suggest "orthography," but this can refer to both spelling and punctuation.

  • So it seems that the use of casing is - in the examples I provided - a kind of common mistake?
    – Clijsters
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 16:39
  • 2
    "Please fix your orthography" is not a very helpful thing to say. Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 17:21
  • See my comment above. Not a mistake, but using a word from typesetting. Typesetting machines (way back) had two keyboards, one that produced capital letters and one that produced lower-case letters. The capitals were accessed from the upper keyboard. This way in the days of hard type.
    – Xanne
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 20:52
  • I added a more suitable example from wiktionary to my question. Is it really invalid?
    – Clijsters
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 11:57
  • 1
    I wouldn't say it's invalid. I would just say that most people won't understand you. Since "case" has multiple meanings and "capitalization" has only one clear meaning, I'd stick with using "case" only when the context makes it super clear which meaning is intended. For instance, "upper case," "lower case," "sentence case," and "title case" are all easy to understand, but "casing" without additional clarification or context, as in "please fix your casing," is too ambiguous.
    – user215019
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 14:28

When you are speaking in a technical context, capitalisation is not a good alternative for casing, because if applied to a word, it is understood as having the first letter be capitalised and subsequent letters lower case, as in "Word". Whereas upper cased would be "WORD" and lower cased "word".

I was looking for a terminology that is clear both in a general and computing context, but it looks like there is nothing better than casing. The fact that it does not sound idiomatic might actually be an advantage in a computing context.


Notice that your Wiktionary definition for casing says "computing". That means that casing is a technical term in the field of computing. If you use it outside of that field, then people may not understand you.

If you said to me as a software developer, "Fix your casing", I might understand you to mean, "Fix your source code so that it follows house style guidelines for casing convention." A casing convention is, for example, UpperCamelCasing or lowerCamelCasing for particular identifier types.


'Case' refers to whether a verb is nominative, accusative, or genitive.

Case (verb)

And 'case' also refers to the upper or lower case of the first letter of a noum in a sentence.

Case (noun)

So just to say 'case in the text' would be ambiguous.

It would better to stay with the word 'capitalization'.

  • When 'Case' only means the grammatical case, why case-sensitivity describes whether the capitalization is important or not
    – Clijsters
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 16:05
  • 1
    Since case also refers to capitalization (upper case, lower case, mixed case), you might want to address that fact in your answer.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 16:05
  • @MetaEd I understand the point of the question now. Thanks.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 16:11
  • Shouldn't it be 'capitalization' with z instead of s?
    – Clijsters
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 16:20
  • @Clijsters I always assume that a word like 'capitalization' is antiquated or leaning towards over-Britishness, so I use 'capitalisation'.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 16:35

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