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Titles and Headings: Capitalization

Need some help creating a website, blog, or ezine title? Here's the general consensus regarding capitalization of titles:

Capitalize all words with four or more letters. Capitalize words with fewer than four letters except:

  • Articles: a, an, the.
  • Short Conjunctions: and, or, nor, for, but, so, yet.
  • Short Prepositions: prepositions like at, by, for, in, of, off, on, out, to, up.
Tips:
  1. Always capitalize the first and last words in titles and subtitles and all other major words.
  2. Capitalize the first word following a dash or colon in a title.
  3. When a heading flows to the next line, do not capitalize the first word of that second line unless it would have been capitalized anyway.
Exceptions:
  • Many common prepositions function as adjectives, adverbs, or nouns. When they do: capitalize them.
  • Capitalize prepositions when they are stressed, e.g., A River Runs Through It. Capitalize prepositions that are used as conjunctions, e.g., Look Before You Leap.
  • Lowercase "at" and "to" in any grammatical function, for simplicity's sake.

Some style guides, like APA, have a four- and five-letter rule. Capitalize all prepositions of four or five letters or longer.

Tip: avoid starting a heading with a symbol or number. Spell it out or re-cast the heading.

References used: Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition
Gregg Reference Manual Ninth Edition

Here is a worthwhile link: Writing Effective, Attention-Getting Headlines and Titles on Your Blog

Gregg Reference Manual Ninth Edition


If you have problems with the technical lingo on these pages, help is on the way! Go to Net Lingo or Wikipedia.



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