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Capitalization in Titles and Headings

By Judy Vorfeld

Need some help cre­at­ing a web­site, blog, or ezine title? Including a link to an arti­cle that helps you write effec­tive titles that will grab the reader?

Here’s the gen­eral con­sen­sus of style guides regard­ing cap­i­tal­iza­tion of titles:

Capitalize all words with four or more let­ters. Capitalize words with fewer than four let­ters except:

  • Articles: a, an, the.
  • Short Conjunctions: and, or, nor, for, but, so, yet.
  • Short Prepositions: prepo­si­tions like at, by, for, in, of, off, on, out, to, up.


  1. Always cap­i­tal­ize the first and last words in titles and sub­ti­tles and all other major words.
  2. Capitalize the first word fol­low­ing a dash or colon in a title.
  3. When a head­ing flows to the next line, do not cap­i­tal­ize the first word of that sec­ond line unless it would have been cap­i­tal­ized anyway.
  4. Avoid start­ing a head­ing with a sym­bol or num­ber. Spell it out or re-cast the heading.


  • Many com­mon prepo­si­tions func­tion as adjec­tives, adverbs, or nouns. When they do: cap­i­tal­ize them.
  • Capitalize prepo­si­tions when they are stressed, e.g., A River Runs Through It. Capitalize prepo­si­tions that are used as con­junc­tions, e.g., Look Before You Leap.
  • Lowercase “at” and “to” in any gram­mat­i­cal func­tion, for simplicity’s sake.

Some style guides, like APA, have a four– and five-letter rule. Capitalize all prepo­si­tions of four or five let­ters or longer.

Tip: Here’s a superb arti­cle: Writing Effective, Attention-Getting Headlines and Titles on Your Blog


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