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While currently working on my resume, I have confused myself about the capitalization of programming languages. I seem to recall that most times I see c++ mentioned, it is spelled with a lowercase c.

I followed the convention of keeping languages lowercase but am now questioning this. The languages in question are java, javascript, c++.

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    It seems a minor thing, but at the same time it shows you don't actually read enough programming literature to know the proper capitalizations. – Chan-Ho Suh Oct 4 '15 at 20:31
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    Is it possible you are confusing the name of the programming language with the associated commands? The command to run a Java program with main class SomeClass is java SomeClass – Patricia Shanahan Oct 4 '15 at 21:26
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not specific to the Workplace. This site is not a spelling bee or online dictionary. If you want to know how something is spelled, look it up. If you're spelling it wrong on your resume, that's rather obviously a bad thing. – Lilienthal Oct 4 '15 at 22:38
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    Where have you seen C++ spelled in lowercase? Something else to keep in mind: some language names are acronyms, and are spelled in all-caps, but others (Ada and Lua, for example) are not. Spelling Ada as "ADA" is a common mistake, and one you certainly shouldn't make on your resume. – Keith Thompson Oct 5 '15 at 0:28
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    Looking at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_programming_languages shows only 1 or 2 languages that officially begin with a lowercase letter. o:XML is one example, but for most 'normal' names beginning with a capital letter is the rule. UNIX command names normally are written entirely with small letters. So e.g. although the GNU compiler is officially called GCC, the command name is gcc with small letters. – Brandin Oct 5 '15 at 6:59
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I don't know any language where names would be spelled lower case. Spell them like they should be spelled. Just look it up:

Java

JavaScript

C

C++

Spelling them differently would be a spelling mistake. Not the best thing to have in your application.

  • Wikipedia's List of Programming Languages has a few obscure ones that are spelled all lowercase. Clicking on some of them, it seems to largely be because the name of the language and the name of the Unix executable are one and the same, and that is (by Unix common practice) a two-letter lowercase name. – Carson63000 Oct 4 '15 at 21:45
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    A few examples to add there are PHP, SQL, CSS and HTML; where the names are all uppercase. These are usually acronyms, but still worth mentioning. – Ismael Miguel Oct 4 '15 at 23:52
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    I would say that it is at least potentially a bit more serious than "not the best thing". If you write "thonk" instead of "think", it's a minor typo, but if you write "I write Sql every day", that may appear to be unfamiliarity, and not a typo. As for a "JAVAScript expert", well, they aren't going to be on my shortlist... – jmoreno Oct 5 '15 at 5:45
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    @jmoreno I see sometimes people write Java the language as JAVA, as if it's an acronym. Not really big deal though, even though my brain is case-sensitive. – Brandin Oct 5 '15 at 7:05
  • @Carson63000: I wouldn’t consider occam as all that obscure – jmoreno Jan 20 '19 at 2:43
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For any given language, follow the standard for the language.

For example, https://isocpp.org/std/the-standard says "The current ISO C++ standard is officially known as ISO International Standard ISO/IEC 14882:2014(E) – Programming Language C++.". The "C" in "C++" should be a capital letter.

The standard for COBOL, see ISO/IEC 1989:2014, has title "Information technology -- Programming languages, their environments and system software interfaces -- Programming language COBOL" so it is all capitals.

The J3-Fortran page says "J3 developed the Fortran 66, Fortran 77, Fortran 90, Fortran 95, Fortran 2003, and Fortran 2008 standards." so capitalize only the first letter of "Fortran".

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While another answer has the correct capitalization for a few example languages (C, C++, JavaScript, Java), there is something very important that you must understand about programming languages if you are to speak about them like you know what you're talking about.

Some programming languages have stated capitalization preferences that are easy to find online, and have a set of rules more complex than one would think. For example, Python is spelled with a capital P when speaking about the language itself (such as on a resume), BUT you write python in your IDE. Additionally, some language names have special forms in special cases. For example, we can debate whether or not this code is pythonic.

Also, one of the comments on the question above makes a very good point that I will take a step further in giving you some job-seeking advice: If you don't know the proper capitalization of the programming language you are thinking about adding to your resume, it does not belong on your resume.

  • -> "we can debate whether or not this code is pythonic". Only some adjectives like this are common enough to have "grown out" of their capitalisation. For example, "web site" instead of "Web site" is OK. I don't think the word "Pythonic" has reached the same notoriety. Keep it capitalised. – Brandin Oct 7 '15 at 11:38
  • Very specifically the term "pythonic" is only capitalized at the beginning of a sentence. In fact, here is Python's inventor, Guido van Rossum, using the term without capitalization. If you are using a term with a strong community like a programming language, or computer programming generally, it would behoove you to conform to the use demonstrated by that community, especially for something like a job interview. – L0j1k Oct 7 '15 at 17:20
  • Actually, the word used in that article is unpythonic, which of course would not be capitalised. If you write it with a hyphen, however, then it should be capitalised (e.g. "un-Pythonic"). There is a thread in ELL on this issue: english.stackexchange.com/questions/128282/… – Brandin Oct 7 '15 at 20:07
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    But what matters here is using the form agreed upon by the community. What you said about capitalizing specifically "pythonic" is wrong, and might make OP look like an outsider to a Python programmer conducting the interview, which is bad. My point stands: Find the community usage and go with that form. – L0j1k Oct 7 '15 at 20:32

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