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Capitalising Titles

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Basics on the topic Capitalising Titles

Title Capitalisation

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

Title Capitalisation – Rules

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

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When to Capitalise with Examples

We capitalise 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 Capitalise with Examples

We do not capitalise 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)

Capitalisation Title – Summary

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

Type of word Example(s) Capitalise Don’t capitalise
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 Capitalising Titles

Which words are capitalised in a title?
What words do you not capitalise in a title?

Capitalising Titles exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learnt? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video Capitalising Titles .
  • Which words in a title are capitalised?

    Hints

    Here is an example of a correctly capitalised title using the preposition in:

    Pearl in the Treasure Chest

    Here is an example of a correctly capitalised title using the conjunction and:

    The Boy and His Dog

    There are seven types of words that are capitalised and there are three types of words that are not capitalised.

    Solution

    Rules tell us which words should be capitalised in a title. Important words are capitalised. These include:

    • the first word
    • the last word
    • nouns
    • pronouns
    • verbs
    • adverbs
    • adjectives

    Words that are not capitalised are:

    • articles
    • prepositions
    • conjunctions
  • Which titles are correctly capitalised?

    Hints

    The first word in the title is always capitalised.

    Articles such as the and a, are not capitalised in titles.

    Solution

    the Diary of a happy Kid is wrong because:

    • the word the should be capitalised since it is the first word in the title
    • the word happy should be capitalised since it is an adjective.

    The Magic Inside The Earth is wrong because:

    • the word the should not be capitalised since it is an article in the middle of the sentence.

  • Can you find the correct titles?

    Hints

    The first and last words in a title should be capitalised.

    Prepositions in the middle of a title should not be capitalised.

    Solution

    The answers and explanations are as follows:

    The Great Pie Contest

    • The word "the" is capitalised because it is the first word of the title.

    Tank and Axel's Race

    • The word "and" is not capitalised because it is a conjunction in the middle of the title.

    A Magical Picnic

    • The word "picnic" is capitalised because it is the last word in the title and it is a noun.

    A Pirate's Ride on Stormy Seas

    • The word "on" is not capitalised because it is a preposition in the middle of the title.

  • Can you find the mistakes?

    Hints

    Prepositions are words like in, to, under, over and of.

    Conjunctions are words like and, but and so.

    There is one mistake in each title.

    Solution

    Here we can see the correctly highlighted titles.

    1. The word In should not be capitalised because it is a preposition.
    2. The word And should not be capitalised because it is a conjunction.
    3. The word birthday should be capitalised because it is an adjective here.
    4. The word a should be capitalised here because it is the first word of the title. It is also an article, but it is not in the middle of the title.
    5. The word mystery should be capitalised because it is a noun.
    6. The word of should not be capitalised because it is a preposition.
    __________________________________________________

    The correct titles are:

    1. The Noise in the Closet
    2. Lemonade and Summer Days
    3. A Special Birthday Present
    4. A Bike Ride with Grandma
    5. The Mystery of the Missing Homework
    6. The Tale of Dani's Haunted Dollhouse
  • Why are these titles not correct?

    Hints

    Here is an example of a correctly capitalised title:

    The Adventures of the Lost Dog

    The first and last words are capitalised as well as nouns.

    This title is correctly capitalised:

    Mary and the Crocodile

    The article, the, is not capitalised.

    Solution
    1. a Day at the Beach is wrong because the first word is not capitalised. The title should be capitalised like this: A Day at the Beach.
    2. Charlie and The Scooter is wrong because articles in the middle of the title should not be capitalised. The title should be capitalised like this: Charlie and the Scooter.
    3. The Magic bathroom is wrong because the last word is not capitalised. The title should be capitalised like this: The Magic Bathroom.
    4. The fairy in Black is wrong because the noun fairy is not capitalised. The title should be capitalised like this: The Fairy in Black.
  • Complete the titles using correct capitalisation.

    Hints

    Prepositions like on and of are not capitalised.

    The first word of a title is always capitalised.

    Solution

    The correct answers are as follows:

    The Tale of the Buzzing Beekeeper

    • The word "the" is capitalised because it is the first word in the title.

    All That and a Jar of Honey

    • The word "and" is not capitalised because it is a conjunction in the middle of the title.

    Summer Bee Stings

    • The word "stings" is capitalised because it is the last word of the title and a noun.

    Bees on the Loose

    • The word "on" is not capitalised because it is a preposition in the middle of the title.