3 Capitalization Rules for Titles

Capitalization should be easy. We were taught to start the beginning of sentences with capitals and end them with a period or proper punctuation. Choosing where to place an uppercase letter in a title was never a problem before, but with print becoming an outdated form of written communication, writers are now transitioning to the web. Bloggers and copywriters continue to have difficulty knowing where they should capitalize a word in a title, and many fallback on simply capitalizing every word to avoid taking the chance of choosing incorrectly.

We could write a title as:

The Dog Walker And The 7 Dog Wrap-up 

or

The Dog Walker and the 7 Dog Wrap-Up

To help you figure it out, keep these tips in mind whenever you find yourself staring at your next title for far too long.

1. The Basics

  • The first and last words should always be capitalized and any important words in between
  • Most of the time a, an, and the will be lowercase
  • Nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and subordinate conjunctions should be capitalized
  • Words with five letters or less are generally lowercase, like but, nor, by, for, in, or, and of.

2. Know where you want to place the emphasis

  • Consider where it will be published. Are you writing for an online publication, your own personal blog, or a client's website? Depending on your demographic you will have format and word your titles differently.
    • Personal Blog: My Top 10 Writing Tools
    • Online Publication: The Top 10 Writing Tools for 2015
  • What not to do: Some beginner bloggers like to overly style their titles.
    • Having inconsistent format decreases visual appeal and level of professionalism, like in this title: My ToP 10 wRiTiNg ToOls 
    • Try Instead: To stylize a title by placing it in an image and not as stand alone text

3.Your Format

  • Online publications have proper format too! If you specialize in academic writing  If you remember the days when you wrote college and university level papers, then you remember writing in the styles of Associated Press Stylebook, Chicago Manuel of Style, and MLA
  • Ever hear of Sentence Case? In some instances you can forgo capitals in the title, unless it's a noun, only capitalizing the first letter. -Best writing tools blog

A general tip for knowing which words to capitalize in your title would be to familiarize yourself with the style you want to specialize in.

Read, read, read. Regardless of the industry you are writing for, the key rule is to know their writing style, be able to adapt, and keep these tips in mind. Try not to fallback on capitalizing your whole title, unless it's your style.

Keeping your style consistent in your title and blog will help you rank higher on AtomicWriter, which uses your site's analytics and social accounts to help you aim for the right audience and improve your writing.

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Tags: writing, blog, Blogs, capital, rules