Do Your Titles Look Like a Ransom Note?
To catch your reader’s attention, you want to do everything you can to ensure your article title is perfect. In fact, why not give it a little style?
A little style, such as The Associated Press or Chicago, can go a long way in making your titles stand out. Also, using a style consistently will catch the eye of your readers and maintain your credibility.
What Titles Without Style Look Like to the Reader
Many Expert Authors will submit their articles with a title in CAPS:
WHAT’S CAPITALIZED AND WHAT’S NOT CAPITALIZED IN ARTICLE TITLES
This is the equivalent to shouting at your readers. Shouting is difficult to read and it’s often ignored as spam. Also, you don’t want your article title to look like a ransom note (seemingly random capitalization), which can be even more difficult to read:
wHAt’S CaPiTAliZED ANd wHaT’s nOt CaPiTalIzED In aRTicLE TItlEs
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Of course, this last scenario is a bit extreme. However, it’s important to stress if you don’t follow stylistic capitalization rules in your title, you can potentially damage your credibility and even hurt your chances of being syndicated by publishers.
Use these title style rules based on The Associate Press (AP) style guide to help maintain your credibility, attract readers, and stay in the favorable eyes of publishers.
What’s Capitalized and What’s Not Capitalized in Article Titles
First off, for our purposes today, we will refer to capitalization in terms of using uppercase for the first letter of a word, not the entire word.
Next, here’s a trick many uses to remember what isn’t capitalized in titles: CAP
- C for (Coordinating) Conjunctions: and, but, or, yet, for, nor, so (unless the conjunction is four or more letters).
- A for Articles: a, an, the (unless it’s the first or last word of the title).
- P for Preposition: on, at, to, in, for, etc. (unless the preposition is four or more letters and/or it’s the first or last word of the title).
Finally, when it comes to title capitalization, there are several rules that determine whether or not you strike your shift key and then a letter:
- Capitalize the first word and the last word of the title, even in the event it’s an article or a preposition.
- Capitalize prepositions and (subordinating) conjunctions of four or more letters.
- Capitalize principal words (first in order of importance or main words). These include:
* “Is” is a VERB! Many authors from around the world will forget to capitalize this little verb in the title. Make a statement of style: Always capitalize “Is” in your article titles.
Try these title style guide tips to strengthen your writing skills, maintain your credibility, and attract publishers. Please note we don’t demand you follow The Associate Press style. However, it’s one of the most widely used styles both on the Internet and off. Whatever style you choose, ensure you use it consistently and start attracting positive attention!