Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Capitalization Rules for Writers (Part 6 of 8)

(Kathy Ide wrote this eight-part series.)

Titles and Headings

Titles of books, chapters, songs, poems, etc. (as well as headings and subheadings) should follow these capitalization guidelines.

Capitalize:
* the first and last words of the title
* the first word following a colon or a dash
* all nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs
* subordinate conjunctions (when, if, as, so, that)

Lowercase:
* articles (a, an, the)
* prepositions (through, up, down, on, etc.)
* coordinate conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for)
* the words to and as

Here are some examples:

* Four Theories concerning the Gospel according to Matthew

* Looking Up Directions, Writing Them Down, and Typing Them Out 
(Note: up, down, and out are used as adverbs here, not prepositions)

* Talking on Your Cell Phone in a Writers’ Conference Workshop

For hyphenated compounds in titles:

* Capitalize the first word in the compound phrase.

* Capitalize all other words except articles (a, an, the), prepositions (in, on, over, up, down, through), or coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for). Example: Hard-and-Fast Rules for Writers

* If the first part of the word is a prefix that could not stand alone (anti, pre, etc.), lowercase the second part of the word (unless it is a proper name). Example: A Non-Christian’s Guide to Post-resurrection Philosophies

* Capitalize the second part of a spelled-out number or fraction. Examples: (1) Heather’s Twenty-First Chapter (2) A Two-Thirds Majority

Kathy Ide is a published author, ghostwriter, and freelance editor. She speaks at writers’ conferences, teaches online writing and editing courses, and mentors new writers. She’s the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network (www.TheChristianPEN.com) and the Christian Editor Network (www.ChristianEditor.com). Learn more at www.KathyIde.com.

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