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I would need a list of all words that are not capitalized in English titles.

I would also like to make sure if it's true, that all first and last words of a title are capitalized no matter what.

I'd really appreciate your help.

28

If you are referring to "title case," where some words are capitalized and some aren't, there is no one standard rule.

The AP stylebook says:

  • Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.
  • Capitalize an article – the, a, an – or words of fewer than four letters if it is the first or last word in a title.

But the Chicago Manual of Style says:

Use lowercase for articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor), and prepositions, regardless of length, unless they are the first or last word of the title.

Wikipedia has a list of different ways title case can be applied. I tend to follow the second version in that list.

title case variations

Note that some people prefer using "sentence case" in titles, where you only capitalize words as you would in a normal sentence. This is also known as "Down style." Apparently this is more typical in the UK than the USA, but opinions vary (as you might expect) on which is the correct form, or if there is even one.

  • I try to use the Chicago Manual of Style version (Univ. of Chicago, version 2, above). But sometimes I struggle to remember on certain words. Interesting is, "Down style" (i.e., sentence case) is what was adopted by the American Library Association (ALA) many decades ago. Whether we're talking about online library catalogs, or the old archaic index card paper catalogs, ALA capitalizes first word and proper nouns only. – Autarch Severian Dec 26 '16 at 23:43
  • Using Title Case or normal sentence case is an option depending on the typography. If headers are bold, larger, use a headline fint, and whatnot, then you don’t need titlecase too and the extra caps may look too weighty. – JDługosz Dec 28 '16 at 3:10
3

It is also often up to the authors/editors discretion, for example if your title was fairly long (such as an essay) it might look very strange if a couple of words are lowercase. Also, of course, it should be consistent throughout, a lot of people seem to forget that!

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