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Capitalizing Titles


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Capitalizing Titles

Basics on the topic Capitalizing Titles

Title Capitalization

You already know that you have to capitalize the first word in a sentence and all proper nouns. In the titles of books, songs, movies, articles and essays, some other words have to be capitalized too. We want people to notice the most important words in the title: the content words. We capitalize them to make them stand out.

Title Capitalization – Rules

This article will teach you about proper title capitalization. The rules are the same for book title capitalization, song title capitalization, movie title capitalization, article title capitalization, and essay title capitalization. Some people call these title case capitalization rules.


When to Capitalize with Examples

We capitalize the following kinds of words in a title:

  • the first word
  • the last word
  • nouns (a person, place or thing, for example tree, house or toy)
  • pronouns (words you use instead of a noun, like he, she and it)
  • verbs (action words like run, burp and snore)
  • adverbs (words that give more information about verbs, adjectives and other adverbs. They often end in -ly, for example softly, slowly or angrily)
  • adjectives (description words like red, silly and famous)

When Not to Capitalize with Examples

We do not capitalize the following kinds of words in titles unless they are the first or last word in the title:

  • articles (a, and and the)
  • prepositions (words like at, by and in)
  • conjunctions (words like and, but and or)

Title Capitalization – Summary

When you are writing a title, you don’t capitalize every word. Here’s a quick overview of capitalization in a title. We’ll use The Brave Koala and the Dangerous Dragon for an example of a title and its capitalization.

Type of word Example(s) Capitalize Don’t capitalize
First word The
Last word Dragon
Noun koala, dragon, boat, girl, dirt, toes
Pronoun she, he, mine, yours
Verb sneeze, touch, dream, love
Adverb hungrily, crazily, fast
Adjective brave, dangerous, ugly, tired, shiny, new
Article the, a, an
Preposition at, by, in, off, on
Conjunction and, but, or

Frequently Asked Questions on Capitalizing Titles

What words are capitalized in a title?
What words are not capitalized in a title?

Transcript Capitalizing Titles

Capitalizing Titles “I just finished the script. It's about the time I fought off the monster that was under my bed.” ”Here are some titles I am thinking of using…what do you think?” ”But, you didn’t figh …" [shaking head realizing it's not worth the argument] “Nevermind…you can’t use those titles for the puppet show.” "Why not?" "They aren't written correctly." "You need to use the rules for capitalizing titles." Capital letters are a useful signal for readers. We already know that we capitalize the beginning of a sentence and proper nouns. When writing titles, we capitalize certain words to show emphasis and importance. We want CONTENT WORDS in a title to stand out, so we do not capitalize every word. First, let’s look at the types of words that get capitalized in a title. We capitalize the FIRST and LAST words. We also capitalize other important words like… nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. When certain types of words are in the MIDDLE of the title, we do not capitalize them. These include... the articles, a, an, and the… prepositions like at, by, or to… and conjunctions such as and, but, or for. Here is the first title Pip was thinking of using for the puppet show... protecting Koko from the scary monster. In this title, 'protecting' is capitalized because it is the first word... and monster is capitalized because it is the last word. Koko remains capitalized because it is a name. Now, let's look at the rest of the words in the MIDDLE of the title. The word 'from' is a preposition... and we do NOT capitalize prepositions in the middle of a title, so this word stays lowercase. The' is an article, so it also does NOT get capitalized. The next word is 'scary'. Which is an adjective, so it MUST be capitalized. Pip's first title idea would be capitalized like this. Here is another title idea Pip had. Let's determine which words need to be capitalized. We would capitalize the here because this article is the first word of the title... and monster is also the last word of this title as well. The noun, 'hero' would be capitalized. Do you see any other words that need to be capitalized? HIS would be capitalized because it is a PRONOUN. And is a conjunction in the middle of the title, so it remains lowercase. Pip's next title idea would be capitalized like this. Let's practice with some more of Pip's titles. Read the following titles and choose which one is capitalized correctly. How would we capitalize a monster on the loose? We would capitalize 'a', 'monster', and 'loose', so choice is correct. Here's one more. How do we capitalize never trust my nightmares? The correct choice is we would capitalize ALL the words in the title including 'my' because it is a pronoun. While Pip gets ready to put on the show, let's review. Remember, When writing titles, we capitalize certain words to show emphasis and importance. We ALWAYS capitalize the FIRST and LAST words, also nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. We DO NOT capitalize articles, prepositions, and conjunctions when they are in the middle of a title. "I WILL DEFEAT THE MONSTER UNDER MY BED!"

1 comment
1 comment
  1. This is fun to learn

    From Charli, about 2 months ago