Capitalize titles consistently in your publications

What’s the best way to capitalize a title when you write an article, blog post, book, or other publication? The rules vary. The best thing is to pick one approach and stick with it.

Option 1. Use sentence case when you capitalize titles

capitalize titles in typing publicationsI’m a big fan of using sentence case for capitalizing titles. “Sentence case” means that you only capitalize the first letter of the first word of the title, just as you’d do in a sentence. This is easy to remember. Plus, it doesn’t require judgment calls about which words deserve an initial capital. That’s its big appeal in my eyes.

However, sentence case looks funny in book titles. I didn’t use sentence case in the title of my book, Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients. Perhaps that’s why the alternative to sentence case is called “title case.”

Other approaches to capitalizing titles

The alternative, title-case approaches amount to this: Capitalize the initial letter of every word in the title except for minor, helper words.

The complicated part is deciding which words are too unimportant to earn an initial capital. Typically “the” and “an” don’t make the cut. Prepositions are a bit trickier. Check your favorite style guide or use the online tool I mention in the next section.

For example, my old copy of The Chicago Manual of Style says to “Lowercase articles (the, a, an), and subordinate conjunctions (and, or, for, nor) and prepositions regardless of length, unless they are the first or last words of the title or subtitle.” I know of at least one investment management firm that uses the style guidelines of the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA’s guidelines for title case differ somewhat from the Chicago guidelines, as do the Associated Press guidelines.

A handy tool for capitalizing titles is a handy tool that will capitalize your title according to the rules of the style guide you choose. Just type in your title and click on the tab of your preferred style. shows you how to capitalize titles

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