Title case

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Title case or headline case is a style of capitalization used for rendering the titles of published works or works of art in English. When using title case, all words are capitalized except for minor words (typically articles, short prepositions, and some conjunctions) unless they are the first or last word of the title. There are different rules for which words are major, hence capitalized.

As an example, a headline might be written like this: "The Quick Brown Fox Jumps over the Lazy Dog".


The rules of title case are not universally standardized. The standardization is only at the level of house styles and individual style guides. Most English style guides agree that the first and last words should always be capitalized, whereas articles, short prepositions, and some conjunctions should not be. Other rules about the capitalization vary.[1]

In text processing, title case usually involves the capitalization of all words irrespective of their part of speech. This simplified variant of title case is also known as start case or initial caps.

AP Stylebook[edit]

According to the Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law (2011 edition), the following rules should be applied:[2]

  • Capitalize the first and last words.
  • Capitalize the principal words.
  • Capitalize prepositions and conjunctions of four letters or more.
  • Lowercase the articles the, a, and an.

Chicago Manual of Style[edit]

According to the Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition), the following rules should be applied:[3]

  • Always capitalize the first and last words of titles and subtitles.
  • Always capitalize "major" words (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and some conjunctions).
  • Lowercase the conjunctions and, but, for, or, and nor.
  • Lowercase the articles the, a, and an.
  • Lowercase prepositions, regardless of length, except when they are stressed, are used adverbially or adjectivally, or are used as conjunctions.
  • Lowercase the words to and as.
  • Lowercase the second part of Latin species names.

Title case in references[edit]

The use of title case or sentence case in the references of scholarly publications is determined by the used citation style and can differ from the usage in title or headings. For example APA Style uses sentence case for the title of the cited work in the list of references, but it uses title case for the title of the current publication (or for the title of a publication if it is mentioned in the text instead). Moreover, it uses title case for the title of periodicals even in the references.[4] Other citation styles like Chicago Manual of Style are using title case also for the title of cited works in the list of references.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Title Capitalization Rules". Title Case Converter. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  2. ^ The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law (46th ed.). New York: Basic Books. 2011. pp. 65–66. ISBN 9780465021871.
  3. ^ Grossman, John (2003). The Chicago Manual of Style (Fifteenth ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 366–368. ISBN 0226104036.
  4. ^ Lee, Chelsea (2012-03-09). "APA Style 6th Edition Blog: Title Case and Sentence Case Capitalization in APA Style". blog.apastyle.org. Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  5. ^ "Why don't titles show up in sentence case in bibliographies?". Zotero Documentation. Retrieved 2021-01-13.