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(These are lines from Good Witch.)

Grace asked for the WiFi password, and Nick said

Radford—uppercase D—329—dollar sign—exclamation point.

with the subtitle below showed “RaDford329$!”. "Radford" is Nick's second name and it was said as one word, not letter by letter.

My question is, how can we be sure that the uppercase D was meant for the first D but not the second or both?

Or is it just a typo?

Thank you in advance.

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It's not a typo, it's television. Characters in TV shows can conveniently say things that are ambiguous and not be misinterpreted. There are only 48 minutes for an entire drama to unfold and be resolved, so scriptwriters have more important things to worry about than having Grace say, "Which D is upper-case? The first one, or the second one?"

From a quality control standpoint, though, you've made a nice discovery. Perhaps the scriptwriters should have had Nick say:

Radford—uppercase F—329—dollar sign—exclamation point.

That way, we wouldn't have to suspend disbelief when Grace correctly assumes which D is in upper case without further clarification from Nick.

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I guess it's a typo, but I'd rather say it's ambiguous. Actually the capital D could be in forD, like you thought. It could also be a D after ford: ford D. How one might interpret that partly depends on the length of the pause between "Radford" and "uppercase D". I don't know if that's your own comma or the subtitle's comma, and I don't want to read too much into it.

In any case, I find it hard to imagine that "uppercase D" referred to the first D in raD. If it referred to both, I imagine the speaker saying "uppercase Ds/dees"

This is how I interpret his words

"Radford uppercase D, 329 dollar sign exclamation point"
→ radfordD329$!

If the password is in fact RaDford329$! then I would say

"capital R", "a", "capital D", "f", "o", "r", "d", "3", "2", "9", "dollar sign", "exclamation point"

(Capital or uppercase, it doesn't matter.)

I make the assumption that the letters are lowercase unless otherwise stated. My guess is that's what most people will assume. However, this is not perfect and there are other ways to say it. If you start by saying "capital/uppercase", it might be unclear that it only applies to the letter that immediately follows, not all the subsequent letters. You could also say something like

"rad with a capitial R and a capital D", "ford", "3", "2", "9", "dollar sign", "exclamation point"

  • Regarding the pauses between words, he said it like this:Radford—uppercase d—329—dollar sign—exclamation point. – Jasmine Kuo Sep 16 '18 at 7:12
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    Then I personally would interpret it as "radfordD" with an extra D. – Em. Sep 16 '18 at 7:14
  • I’ve edited the part in my post to make it less ambiguous than it already is. Thanks a lot for pointing that out and helping me out. – Jasmine Kuo Sep 16 '18 at 7:21
  • RE: I make the assumption that the letters are lowercase unless otherwise stated... Except maybe in cases where we know the system requires at least two upper case letters and at least two lower case letters in every password. – J.R. Sep 16 '18 at 9:34

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