Capitalization in titles, headings, and subheadings confuses plenty of people. Part of this confusion stems from the fact that there are different ways to capitalize titles and headings. Here are 3 common capitalization cases you can use.
- Title case
- Start case
- Sentence case
Title case is great to use for titles—obviously. But you can also use it for any headings or subheadings within an article. Use title case for formal writing or for informal writing. When in doubt of how formal your title and headings need to be, use title case.
In title case, capitalize all words except . . .
- Conjunctions: and, but, or, so, for, nor, yet
- Articles: a, an, the
- Short Prepositions: to, in, of
Always capitalize verbs, even short words like “is” or “do.”
Finally, always capitalize the first and last words of a title in title case. See these examples:
- How to Find the Best City to Live In
- The Dos and Don’ts of Hiring a Real Estate Agent
- Want to Get Rock-Hard Abs? Click Here to Find Out How!
Note that “to” is not capitalized even if it’s part of an infinitive.
Start case is used for titles, headings, and subheadings. It is used for more informal writing. The generally informal nature of online writing means start case is becoming more commonplace. If you’re not sure if your capitalization is correct, consider start case an easy, useful option.
Capitalize every word in start case, like in these examples:
- How To Find The Best City To Live In
- The Dos And Don’ts Of Hiring A Real Estate Agent
- Want To Get Rock-Hard Abs? Click Here To Find Out How!
Sentence case is best used in informal writing for headings and subheadings. Using sentence case for a title might make the title of a piece seem too informal. Unless you’re told otherwise, avoid using sentence case for titles.
In sentence case, capitalize the first word of the title and nothing else—just like a regular sentence:
- How to find the best city to live in
- The do’s and don’ts of hiring a real estate agent
- Want to get rock-hard abs? Click here to find out how!
In this last example, “Click” is capitalized because it’s the beginning of its own sentence.
When writing, you may find it helpful to keep capitalization rules on hand. Also note that different house styles may call for different capitalization rules. When writing for someone, be sure to follow that person’s preferred capitalization rules. If they don’t have a preference, use one of the cases discussed above.