Guidelines for Capitalization of Titles and Headlines in Assignments

Usually, assignments, dissertations, thesis, and business documents are broken into sections in order to maintain the clarity of the document and make it readable. Precisely, each section comprises a title, headings, and subheadings. Therefore, before writing any paper, it is important for you as a writer to familiarize yourself with different rules of capitalizing the titles and heading so that writing the paper and completing it effectively becomes easier for you. Furthermore, the capitalization of words in titles and headlines depends on a particular institution, writer, or publication style. Capitalization rules in papers, speeches, books and other documents will differ according to a particular style guide such as APA, Harvard, Chicago, MLA, etc. However, there are many rules that always remain the same irrespective of different writing styles. The three main rule of capitalization include:

  • Capitalization of all the significant words
  • Capitalizing only the first word
  • Combining both the methods

The article further covers all the necessary details to make you understand how to capitalize the titles and headings.

Basic Rules of Capitalizing the Titles

  • Capitalize First Word along with the Verbs, Adjectives, Pronouns, and Adverbs: Remember that the first word of the title, pronoun, verb, the adjective should always be capitalized. Even if the first word is not a noun, adverb, or adjective, it should be capitalized.
  • Avoid Capitalizing Conjunctions, Articles and Prepositions: Many people think that small words do not require any capitalization in the title; however, they should be more specific about this. The words like noun and verbs such as dog and go should be capitalized. But articles, conjunction, and prepositions such as and, but, for, on, an, etc. should not be capitalized. For example, if the title is “The Impact of Climate.” Here both impact and climate are nouns; therefore, they will be capitalized and “the” is the first word, so it will also be capitalized. Furthermore, “of” is the preposition, so it will not be capitalized.
  • Always Remember to Capitalize the First Element in a Hyphenated Compound: If your title has a hyphenated compound, make sure to always capitalize the first element. The rest of the elements of the compound are generally capitalized unless they are part of speech that cannot be capitalized. For instance: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
  • Capitalize Elements of Spelled-out Numbers: In a title, if there is a spelled-out number or simple fraction, then you should capitalize both the components. For example- Thirty-Seven Students got injured at the Accident

Hope, the above rules will help you in understanding what to capitalize and what not. Now let us understand the basic rules for capitalizing the headings.

Basic Rules of Capitalizing the Headings

When you are capitalizing headlines, you should maintain consistency throughout your academic papers. You must never change the capitalization styles as when you are consistent across all the headlines, and you will become good at noticing small things and making the complete paper effective. The following are some of the important rules to remember while capitalizing the headings.

  • Capitalize all the principle words, which means that you should capitalize the first and last words in a title. Make sure that you capitalize nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives and some conjunctions.
  • While using verbs, you should always capitalize them. For example, if you are using “to look”, make sure that both words are capitalized.
  • Avoid capitalizing prepositions, articles or conjunctions that have fewer than four letters.

Always capitalize short verbs such as to be, is, was, etc.

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