Wednesday, April 21, 2010

WNW: Capping Titles

I'll get into the crux of today's topic in a second.

Before that, I have to restate something I posted more than a year ago, before a lot of my readers found me . . . and became intimidated about commenting on my blog or FB status.

To quote myself in part:

There is no need for bloggy/writing/conversational paranoia.

I get a lot of, "I'm not an English major, and I don't know grammar. You'll totally freak out reading my blog . . ."

But here's the thing: I won't. And I don't.

When I say that certain gaffs make me twitch, it's almost always in professional publications or other places like that. Blogs and other casual settings, including daily conversation, aren't a big deal to me. Really, truly. There are places where the editor hat and the mental red pen go into a drawer and
stay there.

Rest assured, I don't freak out over typos or grammar errors on blogs. I know they're not perfect, and they're not supposed to be.

Which is why I reserve the right to have typos and grammar errors on my blog as well. I have them frequently, and I figure that's okay.

Got it? Good. No more comment paranoia.

Now for when to capitalize words in titles.
I'm talking about this and much more at one of my two conference workshops this weekend. (This post brought to you almost verbatim by There, Their, They're.)

What TO capitalize in a title:
  • The first and last words, no matter what they are.
  • All nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs.
  • All verbs. Even the really short ones, like BE and IS.
  • Coordinating conjunctions (AS, ALTHOUGH, BECAUSE, etc.)
  • Really long prepositions (BENEATH, THROUGH, WITHOUT)

What NOT to capitalize in a title:

  • Articles (the, a, an)
  • Conjunctions (and, or, for, nor, yet, but, so)
  • Prepositions (into, from, for, to, on, etc.)

Examples:

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (ON, THE, OF, AND too small/unimportant to cap.)

"A Rose for Emily" (FOR not capped, but A is because it's the first word, even though it's an article.)

Lost Without You (First and last words capped, of course. WITHOUT is a long preposition.)

All the Stars in Heaven (STARS and HEAVEN are the only "big" words, but ALL is first and needs caps too.)


See? It's really simple when you know the basics.


10 comments:

Heidi Ashworth said...

I appreciate this--I seemed to have forgotten some of the rules. I capitalize everything in my blog titles. Hey, it's been a while since I've been here--I really love your new blog look!

Lara said...

This is always so confusing for me. I will have to bookmark this page...seriously, I can't tell you how many times I capitalize and un-capitalize things in my titles. :) But since it's just a blog, at least you aren't twitching. Phewsh.

Kristina P. said...

I actually appreciate when someone points out when I made a mistake on my blog, because I am anal about it too.

Erin said...

My husband is a psychologist, and a lot of people are intimidated by him and don't want to be his friend because they think he is analyzing them all of the time. Believe me, once work is done for the day the last thing he wants to do is analyze you.

I'm just saying that I get it. We all make typos, and I'm glad you don't mind them in something as informal as a blog.

And, thanks again for the brush-up lesson on capitalization.

One Cluttered Brain said...

So glad to hear that. 'Cause sometimes even before I hit publish I don't catch anything. But sometimes it is nice to know if you like left out a word or something..haha!

no more comment paranoia from me. *wiping sweat from forehead*
Okay, you can visit me now. I no longer care about good grammar. haha! That might make a funny post. :)

Anyway, thanks for the capitalization tips. I probably will need them someday.

Carolyn V. said...

Ahhh! I should have read this before I sent that thing out. Oh well. Next time. =)

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I love this clarification! Thanks!

I admit I was at first intimidated leaving comments because I would hate to make you twitch! ;)

Now I'm like...oh well! :)

Rebecca said...

I believe I shall bookmark this one too!

Thanks!

DeNae said...

Too late. I have Facebook paranoia. It's the same principle that keeps people from singing next to me in church. They assume that because I teach it, I'm constantly criticizing. I know I'm not, and I know you're not, but...

And I'm making notes about the title thing. Now I need to go back to 160 blog posts and see how I did!

TheOneTrueSue said...

HA! I can't tell you how often people email me about this. They honestly think I don't know. I should put a disclaimer up or something,"Yes I Realize I Shouldn't Cap Every Single Word But It Amuses Me To Do So."

Coming Soon: Firsts and Lasts

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