Writing tip: Capitalize headlines and titles consistently

The trend worldwide is to use fewer initial capital letters in headlines and titles. The two prevalent styles are both correct.

Option 1
Maximum capitalization means capitalizing all words except tiny or unimportant words like to or of. This style makes a document or web page seem more formal, conservative and traditional.
Maxi-caps: 'The Bestselling Guide to English Usage'

Option 2
Minimum capitalization gives initial capitals only to words that normally have them, such as the first word and names of people and places. This style gives a more informal, modern and relaxed impression.
Mini-caps: 'The bestselling guide to English usage'

How to choose the right style of capitalization
Your job as a writer or editor is to use the more appropriate style, and use it consistently.

  1. As an employee or contractor you are usually obliged to follow the house style. If the house style guide requires all titles to be capitalized one way or the other, do that.
  2. For a new project or independent project, decide which style is more appropriate, and use that style consistently. Don't chop and change at random.
  3. If in doubt, choose minimum capitalization, because that's the modern trend.

Modern punctuation is the latest Contented course. Today's writing tip is one of dozens in this one-hour professional development course. Top up your training and clear up any confusion about the changes in what you thought were fixed 'rules' for punctuation and capitalization.

By the way, this course is fun. Fun? Punctuation? You'd better believe it: that's the Contented way.

Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine


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