It is important that you know how to capitalize titles to make your work look great. You can use our free capitalization tool if you are not certain which words to capitalize in a headline or title. Still, if you are looking for rules regarding capitalization, we have illustrated them below.
It is important to note that there are different writing styles, and they have unique capitalization rules. The four main capitalization rules include APA style, AP style, MLA style, and Chicago style. You will learn that each of these styles has its rules regarding the words that need to be capitalized in a title. Thankfully, all of these styles can be completed using sentence case capitalization or title case capitalization
Title case capitalization
Below are the title capitalization rules that apply to all the four styles aforementioned:
- Capitalize the last word in the title.
- Capitalize the first word on the title.
- Capitalize the important words in the title.
Note that the rules mentioned above can be used regardless of the style you are using.
If you have important words that need to be capitalized, here are the other things worth knowing. Essential words that should be mentioned can include, but not limited to:
- Adjectives (large, tiny, etc.)
- Nouns (tablet, book, kitchen, etc.)
- Pronouns (she, he, they, etc.)
- Adverbs (smoothly, quietly, etc.)
- Verbs (type, write, create)
- Subordinating conjunctions ( when it has less than five letters)
Of all capitalization styles, title case is the most commonly used. You can choose to use our free title capitalization tool to help you with this. It is effective for book titles, article titles, headlines, and many more. If you have many words that need to be capitalized, then it is advisable that you use title case capitalization.
Words that should not be capitalized
Though the words mentioned above as supposed to be capitalized regardless of the style you employ, some words must not be capitalized if you are using a title case. Mostly, these are conjunctions and other short words. Some of them are listed below:
- Prepositions by, at, from, etc.)
- Articles (a, the, an, etc.)
- Coordinating conjunctions (but, for, and)
- Short (these are words with less than five letters)
Now let us delve deeper into the meaning of a sentence case
What is a title case?
This is the main title capitalization standard. In a layman’s language, title case means capitalizing the first letter of each word in the title. However, you should note that in this case, you should only capitalize the first letter of proper nouns and nothing else. Title case standards apply to all the writing styles and formats mentioned above. You should know what to capitalize in titles so that you deliver quality work that is well organized and adheres to the rules.
How to capitalize titles using the Chicago style
In journalism, Chicago is the most commonly used writing style. Now let us look at what you should know to capitalize titles in Chicago Style and formatting.
- Make sure that the last and first words are capitalized.
- Capitalize pronouns, adjectives, nouns, adverbs, verbs, and subordinate conjunctions.
- Make sure that all articles are lower-cased (an, a, the).
- Lowercase prepositions and coordinating conjunctions.
How to capitalize titles using the APA style
It is crucial to know how to capitalize titles in APA style. In this part, we are going to make sure that you are acquainted with the right APA style capitalization rules. Here are the things that you must have in mind while writing in APA style:
- Make sure that the first word of the title is capitalized. This applies to subheadings throughout the document you are creating.
- Also, in this case, you make sure that the first letter of each word is capitalized (verbs, nouns, adverbs, adjectives, and pronouns). This rule also applies to the first letters of hyphenated words. For instance, Self-Report, and not Self-report.
- You should only capitalize words that have at least four letters an above.
How to capitalize titles using the MLA style
It is crucial that you have the right MLA style capitalization rules at your fingertip. MLA is mostly used when creating scholarly articles. Here are the rules that you should be taking care of:
- Make sure that the first word of the title is capitalized. This applies to all other subheadings throughout the piece.
- All major words have to be capitalized in your titles and subheadings (adjectives, nouns, pronouns, and verbs). This should also include the second parts of hyphenated words.
- Make sure that all words with at least four words are above are capitalized.
How to capitalize titles using the AP style
AP style is mainly used for individuals who are writing for the associated press. However, it can be used to create other journal articles, and you should know what to capitalize in titles when using this style. This means that you should understand its capitalization rules.
- To capitalize your title, make sure that words with at least four letters and above are capitalized.
- Make sure that the last and first words are capitalized.
- Capitalize adjectives, nouns, adverbs, pronouns, verbs, and subordinate conjunctions.
- Keep the articles lowercased (an, the, a, etc). Do the same for prepositions and coordinating conjunctions.
- You also want to lowercase ‘to’ that lies in an infinitive, for instance, I want to play the guitar.
How to capitalize titles using the NY Times style
This style is used for the writers who work for NY Times. It is also used widely in journalism. Here are the rules:
- Capitalize the last and the first words.
- Keep the articles lowercased.
- Capitalize all major words.
The final thought
The rules mentioned above can help you capitalize titles. Make sure that you go through it time and again so that you know what to capitalize in titles. You can also share this knowledge with peers who are looking to know how to capitalize titles. Writing is all about knowing the rules and making sure to adhere to each one of them. You might as well use a title capitalization tool to help you submit work that looks great.