“This is the only title in the wrestling world that makes you number one. When you are the king of the WWF, you rule the world!”—The Nature Boy Ric Flair’s important message explaining the intricacies of geopolitical power structures
This week, we outline the rules of capitalizing words in titles.
In a media environment bursting with print and online content, you need to create a good title to distinguish your work. Just ask my college roommate, who reached into the ether of humanity’s collective unconscious to lasso this gem for his term paper: “The Childhood Influences That Molded Adolf Hitler Into the Dictator That He Was.” Yep, that was his real paper title.
When crafting a title, you need to make sure you capitalize the right words. You don’t Want To look Stoopid, right? Let’s review the Associated Press style guidelines to make sure you remain a capital writer:
1) Capitalize all key words and prepositions and conjunctions more than three letters long. For example, do not capitalize articles, prepositions, and conjunctions like “a,” “an,” “and,” “at,” “by,” “for,” “in,” “of,” “on,” “or,” “the,” and “to.” Consider these sample titles:
2) Capitalize the word at the beginning and the word at the end of the title. Note that this rule overrides the previous rule. When you run into a tricky situation, such as starting a title with a word like “iPod” or “eHarmony,” just rewrite your title to avoid capitalization disasters like “IPod” or “EHarmony.”
3) There is no third rule.
In sum, capitalize almost everything in a title, except short words, and always capitalize the first and last word.