Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Capital or Lowercase?

While typing table column headings at my job the other day, I came across a problem. I had a difficult time figuring out whether the first letter of a word should be capitalized or left lowercase. I think we might go over this topic later on in the class, but I just wanted to share some helpful information on the capitalization of titles and headings. According to this site, these are some of the guidelines for traditional title capitalization standards:

• Capitalize all nouns, verbs (including is and other forms of to be), adverbs (including than and when), adjectives (including this and that), and pronouns (including its).
• Always capitalize the first and last words, regardless of their part of speech ("The Text to Look For").
• Capitalize prepositions that are part of a verb phrase ("Backing Up Your Disk").
• Do not capitalize articles (a, an, the) unless an article is the first word in the title.
• Do not capitalize coordinate conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or).
• Do not capitalize prepositions of four or fewer letters.
• Do not capitalize to in an infinitive phrase ("How to Format Your Hard Disk").
• Capitalize the second word in compound words if it is a noun or proper adjective or the words have equal weight (Cross-Reference, Pre-Microsoft Software, Read/Write Access, Run-Time). Do not capitalize the second word if it is another part of speech or a participle modifying the first word (How-to, Take-off).
• In table column headings, capitalize only the first word of each column heading.


Pat said...

This is excellent. I was going to cover this subject on Friday, so I'm glad to see your post, Don. I will bring an exercise to class that will allow you to put these guidelines into practice.

ceruleanjen said...

Wow, this stuff sounds so complicated. :P Thanks so much for posting this, though, Don! Finally, title capitalization is demystified! ;)