Author Topic: Capitalization in titles  (Read 18126 times)

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Offline Zera

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Capitalization in titles
« on: March 05, 2010, 02:47:05 pm »
I know a lot of people aren't familiar with all the technicalities of grammar, as there tends to be a lot of rules to remember. I've noticed one common problem is with titles in creative works, as there's a lot of confusion about where capitalization is appropriate. Generally, there aren't as many strict rules about capitalization in non-English titles, so it's especially confusing for someone who might speak English as a secondary language. Just as a reference, (in good faith) I thought I would share a quick run-down of how these rules work in English titles, in case anyone might find it useful to their own creative works:

You should always capitalize the first and last words of the title. The only words that shouldn't be capitalized are: Articles, prepositions / adpositions, conjunctions and some infinitives.

If you aren't sure, here is an example using each type of word in a title:

 - The Good and the Bad (article)

"The," as the first word in the title, is capitalized. The following "the" is not, since it's an article.

 - Somewhere over the Rainbow (preposition)

"Over" is not capitalized, because it's a preposition.

Another example:

 - Joan of Arc (preposition)

If you aren't sure, check your dictionary to see what type of word it is. Some common prepositions are: Into, over, out of, of, from ...

 - The Question and the Answer (conjunction)

Correlative conjunctions should also be lower-cased. Some of these include: And so, both ... and, either ... or, neither ... nor, and not (only) ... but (... also)

Correlative conjunction example:

 - I Fought Hard, and so I Was Victorious

------------------------------

If you still aren't sure, here is an approximate list of words that aren't capitalized:

Articles: a, an, the

Conjunctions: and, but, or, so, after, before, when, while, since, until, although, even if, because, both...and, either...or, neither...nor, not only...but also

Prepositions: aboard, about, above, absent, across, after, against, along, alongside, amid, amidst, among, amongst, around, as, aslant, astride, at, atop, barring, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, besides, between, beyond, but, by, despite, down, during, except, failing, following, for, from, in, inside, into, like, merry, mid, minus, near, next, notwithstanding, of, off, on, onto, opposite, outside, over, past, plus, regarding, round, save, since, than, through, throughout, till, times, to, toward, towards, under, underneath, unlike, until, up, upon, via, with, within, without

Prepositions; Two words: according to, ahead of, as to, aside from, because of, close to, due to, far from, in to, inside of, instead of, near to, next to, on to, out of, outside of, owing to, prior to, subsequent to

Prepositions; Three words: as far as, as well as, by means of, in accordance with, in addition to, in front of, in place of, in spite of, on account of, on behalf of, on top of, with regard to, in case of

Prepositions; Archaic or infrequently used: anti, betwixt, circa, cum, in lieu of, per, qua, sans, unto, versus, vis-a-vis

Prepositions; Not fully grammaticalized: concerning, considering, regarding

Prepositions; Preposition-like modifiers of quantified noun phrases: apart from, but, except, plus, save

Prepositions; Postpositions: ago, apart, aside, away, hence, notwithstanding, on, through, withal

Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Capitalization in titles
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2010, 02:52:41 pm »
darn that's nice to know, because I noticed the seemed to be no rule being followed anywhere I go online or when reading some books in english. In french, I noticed you usually just capitalize the first word, then the names and maybe adjectives, but in english, I often seen titles having every word capitalized, even prepositions. I guess this is something good to know in the future


Offline trevmeister66

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Re: Capitalization in titles
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2010, 03:03:52 pm »
Hmm I thought I knew all that, but I actually learned quite a bit by reading what you posted. Nice work.
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Offline Zera

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Re: Capitalization in titles
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2010, 03:08:47 pm »
I tend to be a grammar-Nazi, so it's hard for me to keep my music library organized without fixing every title first. :P

I also try to apply these rules to titles in other languages, where it may be practically possible. Some languages use such a radically different syntax, though.

I think most people are already aware that some words shouldn't be capitalized; such as: the, of, a, an, etc.; but then they capitalize words like: From, Over, Into, etc.

Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Capitalization in titles
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2010, 03:34:10 pm »
Well, in the past, I always saw people capitalizing every word. Even strategy guides, magazines and the like did, and I think even some commercial games did. Some softwares said to be professional does too, such as SMF. Look right above post list and at the bottom too, above the Fast Reply bos, and even in Quick Reply: these words are all capitalized x.x

Because of this this is hard to know the real rules x.x

Of course keep in mind we will not like if you start correcting every single post here, though, now that you say you are a bit grammar-nazi :P, because we feel it just starts more trouble than anything else, ranging from off-topicness to stupid debates and even new users feeling unwelcomed (we even lost one due to grammar-naziness on the old forums, thanks to Delnar Elriske x.x), because some people find grammar in forum posts and IRC to be less important than elsewhere, or use english as second or third language, while some finds it much more important x.x


Offline Zera

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Re: Capitalization in titles
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2010, 03:41:45 pm »
I don't care so much about others' grammar, unless they explicitly want to be corrected in practice. I just hope I can lead by example, or provide some information for those who are interested in the subject.

My own grammar isn't perfect, but I would prefer to be corrected wherever possible. I'm always striving to improve my language skills. I don't see any reason to take such a thing personally; but I am aware that some people will only correct others to be condescending, or as a form of personal attack. It depends on the context of what is being said. I try not to assume that any such matter is necessarily done in bad faith... unless it's interspersed with remarks about my lack of intelligence. :P

Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Capitalization in titles
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2010, 03:46:17 pm »
yeah the issue is mostly ppl trying to correct others in a rude way to try to make them feel embarrassed in public. Some consider such grammar nazism as some form of trolling. I think the trolling part might be because it totally disrupts the topic conversation with discussion totally unrelated to the topic starter post.

Generally I try to check underlined words when posting on English forums, since Opera browser finally added spell-checking features. However there are some stuff that can go unnoticed and since English is not my native language, I might do a lot of mistakes still.


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Re: Capitalization in titles
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2010, 03:59:24 pm »
This is a nice reference!  In fact I think I'll have to look at it from time to time. :)

...others' grammar...
Yea!  It's great to see people putting the ' at the end of words;  I see it before the s too much.

(others' is like others (all-other-people) and other's (showing ownership) all in one.) :D


Great job Zera! ;D

Offline Zera

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Re: Capitalization in titles
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2010, 04:24:46 pm »
To be honest, one reason I started the topic was because I wondered if some people might look at the title "Shadow over Ragnoth" and mistakingly think I forgot to capitalize "over." :P

Well, now you all know. Intentional grammar-Nazism. :P

Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Capitalization in titles
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2010, 04:32:27 pm »
I always wondered that at first :P. Also, I noticed while some ppl capitalize everything, they still don't capitalize the first letters in acronyms. Some ppl will say GoW, some others GOW, for Gears of War. World of Warcrast is often refered to as WoW, though, but it might be just people not saying WOW else people think they meant the word "wow"


Offline Galandros

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Re: Capitalization in titles
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2010, 06:06:17 pm »
Nice to know and kind of your part to share.

When I capitalize my rule was what seems to fit better. Not always has accurate results.
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Offline Zera

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Re: Capitalization in titles
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2010, 07:37:59 pm »
I also use some of my own capitalization rules. These are because of quirks I've discovered with official grammar along the way, inspiring me to use my own conventions for aesthetic reasons.

Although verbs are normally capitalized, I don't capitalize "is." This is mainly because "is" is two letters, and looks really awkward when capitalized in the middle of a sentence. I don't lower-case other indicative verbs; such as "am," "are," "were," etc. Other people adopt this convention, as well. (possibly because of confusion about official capitalization rules)

I don't capitalize the second word of phrasal verbs. (i.e., "Flared-up") I think (but I'm not certain) that you're supposed to capitalize the second word, but I find it looks awkward. To me, it also makes more sense that phrasal words be treated as a single word.

I don't capitalize "it," as it's really not as important as a proper noun. It's also another case of not capitalizing words that only consist of two letters, for appearing awkward.

In German titles, I follow standard German grammar: Capitalize all nouns. Most everything else is lower-cased. (i.e., "Heut' ist mein Tag" - "This is my Day") With titles in most any other language, I follow English capitalization rules. Seems like most other languages don't have official capitalization standards. With languages that use suffixed particles, I separate them from their preceeding word with dashes, and always lower-case them. (i.e., "Wasure-na Kusa" - "Forget-Me-Not") There is an exception to particles that directly link words; such as possessive markers. (i.e., "Genji-no-Kabuto" - "Helmet of Genji" / "Genji's Helmet")

Yes - grammar is that important to me. I might lose sleep over it. :P
« Last Edit: March 16, 2010, 07:45:49 pm by Zera »

Offline Gale

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Re: Capitalization in titles
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2010, 08:14:53 pm »
Thank you! I'm used to capitalizing every word, but every time I do I always feel a pang of regret for not taking the time to check if I correctly capitalized everything.
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Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Capitalization in titles
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2010, 11:52:28 pm »
I generally tend to not care too much about grammar when posting on the Internet, especially on a chat room, but I try doing an effort to make myself understood. On forums, I generally double-check using Opera spell checker and making sure my sentences makes sense before posting. I'm not a grammar-Nazi but I still try to do some effort as much as I can. Of course, though, since it's difficult for me sometimes, this is why many of my posts will be short.

I also dislike if people do stuff like this:

http://cemetech.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3676
Since it can be unwelcoming for some forum users and it cause unnecessary debates and off-topicness, but I like when people at least make sure their posts are readable. :P
« Last Edit: March 16, 2010, 11:53:10 pm by DJ Omnimaga »


Offline Zera

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Re: Capitalization in titles
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2010, 12:41:49 am »
Quote
http://cemetech.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3676

According to their... "style" of grammar, a semicolon should be used to serve every miscellaneous, punctuational linkage between similar clauses.

Damn them for neglecting my precious em-dashes. Damn them to Hell! >:(

(Okay - I'm not that dramatic over grammar. :P )