I have come across a situation which drives me mad, and I cannot find any satisfying answer in the Oxford Guide to Style, which I tend to follow. The problem concerns the phrase "Start Your Own Business", and when it is used as the name of a project. I'm really confused about two things: capitalization and hyphenation. I've written it in capitals and without hyphens here, but that doesn't mean I prefer it that way. I think I would prefer it like this: the Start-Your-Own-Business project. Any ideas what is recommended here?

  • If SYOB Project is somebody else's invention, then use what they use. If it's your invention, then use whatever capitals and hyphens you like.
    – dmm
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 15:56
  • Surely, I cannot use capitals and hyphens in any way I like? For instance, "the start your own business project" is ambiguous, and can refer to starting your own "business project" or a project about starting your own business.
    – calvin
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 8:04
  • The project is originally in a foreign language, but I think not simply a matter of copying the style, because different languages can have different styles.
    – calvin
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 8:06

1 Answer 1


Hyphens indicate a compound adjective: a do-it-yourself project. The hyphens are to let the reader know that all the hyphenated words belong to one thought.

If you're using capitals to denote a proper name, the hyphens are unnecessary. The caps make it a unit.

  • Yes it's a name of a project (unlike your example "a do-it-yourself project" which isn't a name). So I will use capitals without hyphens.
    – calvin
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 8:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.