Thursday, May 7

Capitilization of Titles and Headlines: A Special Baby Ruthless Grammar Insert

This morning I had a question about whether a word in a headlines should be capitalized or not. So I looked up the Capitalization of Headlines and Titles section of the Chicago Manual of Style. I'd been meaning to do this for a while, and I figured today was the day.

The rules are pretty straightforward, so I thought I'd compile a cheat sheet for you guys to use. We'll deal with the words that have to be uppercase first, then the lowercase words.


First and last words of the title
  • This rule supersedes all the others, so even if the word would otherwise be lowercase, if it's the first or last word of the title, it's always uppercase.


  • I, You, She, He, It, We, You, They

  • Me, Her, Him, Us

  • Mine, Yours, Hers, His, Its, Ours, Theirs

  • This, That, These, Those

  • Who, Whom, Which, What

  • Whoever, Whomever, Whichever, Whatever

  • All, Another, Any, Anybody, Anyone, Anything, Each, Everybody, Everyone, Everything, Few, Many, Nobody, None, One, Several, Some, Somebody, Someone

  • Myself, Yourself, Herself, Himself, Itself, Ourselves, Yourselves, Themselves



  • Hint: if it ends in an -ly, it's probably an adverb. But there are other adverbs, too:

  • Well, Fast, Slow, Late

  • Too, Very, Really, Almost, Little, Much, Rather

  • Perhaps

  • Downstairs, Upstairs, There, Outside, Above, Away, Below, Down, Here, Inside, There, Up

  • Always, Never, Sometimes

  • However, Therefore, Also, Anyhow, Furthermore, Moreover, Otherwise, Still

  • Early, Never, Now, Often, Soon, Then, Today, Tomorrow

  • Why, Where, How, When

Subordinating Conjuctions
  • Though, Although

  • If, Unless

  • Until, While, Before, After

  • How, When, Whenever, Where, Wherever

  • Since, Because, As

  • Than, That


  • a

  • an

  • the

Coordinating Conjuctions
  • for

  • and

  • nor

  • but

  • or

  • yet

  • so

  • (A good mnemonic device to remember coordinating conjuctions is FANBOYS)

  • about, above, across, after, against, along, alongside, among, around, as, aside, at

  • before, behind, below, beneath, beside, besides, between, beyond, but, by

  • circa, concerning

  • despite, down, during

  • except

  • failing, following, for, from

  • given

  • in, inside, into

  • like

  • near, next, notwithstanding

  • of, off, on, onto, opposite, out, outside, over

  • pace, past, per, plus

  • regarding

  • since

  • than, through, throughout, to, toward, towards

  • under, underneath, unlike, until, up, upon

  • versus, via

  • with, within, without, worth

That's it. This list seems pretty daunting, but it's really pretty easy. There are a bunch of little fiddly rules, but this should cover most of the capitalization questions you have.

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