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19th Century English Language

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my son is analysing a school prospectus from 1843 and has been asked to comment on the use of capital letters throughout the document for non-proper nouns.

The words capitalised are nouns throughout the document and often in mid-sentence (eg. the School, the Children, the Parents).

Is it true to say that the reason for this is that in the 18th century it was common to capitalise all nouns? Would you not expect this practise to have died out by 1843?
Another reason could be that the prospectus was designed in the format of a legal document - could this have something to do with the use of the capital letters?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Feb 18, 2008
Member Type
Hi, You're right that by 1843 the written form of English had settled down into the recognizeable form. However, it seems to me that any literature that was generated for specific purposes (sciences most often) still used Capitals when referring to the intrinsic components of the subject...in this case schooling. I believe this was the case at least into the turn of the 20th century.
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