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Correctly Capitalizing Your Titles

If you ever look at an article, you will notice that some words in titles and subheadings are capitalized, while other words remain lowercase. It is important to know these style rules, especially if you want to make it big as a writer because it could impact the credibility of your article.

If you are struggling to know which words in your title to capitalize, then check the tips below.

capitalize titles

Which Words to Capitalize?

Style guides contain rules for font, layout, and formatting to give all documents a standardized look. Capitalization of titles is among the rules in a style guide. The most common style guides include The Chicago Manual of Style, The MLA Handbook, and The Associated Press Stylebook.

All of these style guides have the same basic guidelines for title capitalization:

1. The first and last words are capitalized:

  • Writing a Beautiful Article

2. Nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and pronouns are capitalized:

  • Going to a Beach on an Island (noun)
  • The Need to Learn Quickly (verb)
  • What Is This? (verb)
  • She Patiently Waits (adverb)
  • A Yellow Car (adjective)
  • As He Ate (pronoun)
  • The Way It Is (pronoun)

3. Do not capitalize articles (the, a, an), prepositions, or conjunctions unless it is the first word of the title:

  • As the World Turns (article)
  • Going Out with Him (preposition)
  • Do Not Come between Us (preposition)
  • Cats and Dogs (conjunction)

capitalize titles

Exceptions to the Rules

When it comes to blogs, web content, and articles, the basic rules outlined above are sufficient. However, if you are writing an academic paper or article for publication, you will need to reference the specific style guide rules because there are some exceptions. For example:

The Associated Press Style Book capitalizes prepositions and conjunctions that are 4 letters or longer:

  • Going Out With Him (preposition)
  • Do Not Come Between Us (preposition)

The MLA Handbook capitalizes prepositions and conjunctions that are 5 letters or longer:

  • Going Out With Him (preposition)
  • Do Not Come between Us (preposition)

Some teachers, professors, and publishers will reject your work if standards are not followed. So if you are required to follow a specific style guide, make sure you check the rules.

Capitalizing Every Word in a Title

You might see that some writers capitalize every word in a title. It often boils down to aesthetics. While it may look good in some cases, it is against writing standards, and the content may lose credibility with some folks in your reading audience. Hence, it is better to just follow the rules.

capitalize titles

When in Doubt

The rules seem simple, but questions may still come up, especially if you are new to the world of writing.

Fortunately, there are some helpful online tools. Run a Google search and you will come across a number of apps that automate capitalization of titles. Using an app will save you time and reduce the risk of errors. Our favorite app is Etxt because it is reliable and easy to use.

Final Word

Never underestimate the importance of your title. It can make or break your blog post or article determining whether or not someone is going to read it. Proper capitalization will ensure the most important words in your title draw the attention of your readers.

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