What would be considered proper capitalization of open form compound words in titles? Should the second part of the compound word be capitalized? Why?

For example, the capitalization for which title would be correct?

Cash flow Analysis Report


Cash Flow Analysis Report


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    Using the style tag for now; if we get enough questions about capitalization we can always re-tag with a more specific tag later on. Apr 12, 2015 at 22:25

2 Answers 2


Which style do you follow?


(from the APA Style Blog)

  1. Capitalize the first word of the title/heading and of any subtitle/subheading;
  2. Capitalize all “major” words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns) in the title/heading, including the second part of hyphenated major words (e.g., Self-Report not Self-report); and
  3. Capitalize all words of four letters or more.

This boils down to using lowercase only for “minor” words of three letters or fewer, namely, for conjunctions (words like and, or, nor, and but), articles (the words a, an, and the), and prepositions (words like as, at, by, for, in, of, on, per, and to), as long as they aren’t the first word in a title or subtitle.


(from the Purdue Online Writing Lab)

... capitalize all words except prepositions (such as of, between, through), articles (such as a, the, and an), and conjunctions (such as but, and, or); however, capitalize them if they begin the title or the subtitle ...


Well, I'm sure you can find this yourself.


In school the rule of thumb for capitalizing titles was first word, last word and all important words (and almost all words were important excluding only articles prepositions and conjunctions). If we follow that rule the question is cashflow one word or two? If it is one word it gets one capital and no space, if two words it gets two capitals and a space. So either 'Cashflow' or 'Cash Flow'. Interestingly my spell checker objects to 'Cashfolw' and suggests 'Cash Flow' as a correction but has no problem with 'cashflow' or 'cash flow'.

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