If you have a look at the title of this article you will see that some letters are capitalized and some are not. Although the capitalization of titles can sometimes depend on the particular style of a writer or publication, there are some general rules to remember.
The rules for capitalizing titles can vary according to a particular style guide, such as Associated Press Stylebook (AP), Chicago Manual of Style, and MLA style. They all have different rules for how to capitalize titles. So which one should you choose?
Well, it all depends if a certain style is required by your teacher, course, or subject/field. For example, MLA style is commonly used in the liberal arts or humanities, while AP style is popularly used in journalism. One suggestion is to choose one style, or check the style required by your teacher, and stick to it.
As discussed there are some exceptions to the rule; however, here is one general rule that you can apply for capitalizing titles. Capitalize the first, last and any important words in a title, which is known as Title Case or Headline Style.
Generally, these parts of speech are capitalized in titles.
As you have probably noticed "short" words, those with less than five letters, are generally lowercase in titles, unless they are the first or last words in a title.
Generally, we do not capitalize:
When in doubt and you do not have a reference guide in front of you, here is one general rule to remember recommended by The U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual:
"Capitalize all words in titles of publications and documents, except a, an, the, at, by, for, in, of, on, to, up, and, as, but, or, and nor."
Some writers and publications choose to use sentence case for titles. Basically the title is written as if it is a sentence, with only the first letter capitalized (however, proper nouns within the title are capitalized).
Here are some advanced rules for title capitalization:
If you are writing titles (or headings) for a school paper, it is recommended to choose one style for capitalizing titles and be consistent throughout.
Further, no matter your personal preference make sure that you write the exact titles of books, newspapers, journals, etc. as they are written on the original document (even if they do not follow common capitalization rules).