..ang blog ni Yeyen.

The Title

Where did I do during my English classes?

I accidentally visited a writing site last night and boy, was I caught off guard! I did not know there are actually rules for writing titles to our compositions?!!?

My English courses only included Elementary and High School English classes and some 18 units of English in College.  That’s that.  I don’t recall learning rules for writing the title – no, I do not believe I absented myself when it was taught because surely, I would have encountered them while reviewing for exams!

I was reading the rules online and I got dizzy – my brain could not process it fast, that was why I ended up copying it to my desktop, intending to read the rules first every time I make a post. Unfortunately, I left out which site it was copied from (my apologies to that site).

Anyway, I just want to share what I learned last night to my friends who regularly read this blog (hoy, did you know this?)

So, the general rules for writing titles are:

  1. Always capitalize the first and the last word.
  2. Capitalize all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions (“as”, “because”, “although”).
  3. Lowercase all articles, coordinate conjunctions (“and”, “or”, “nor”), and prepositions regardless of length, when they are other than the first or last word. (It is preferable to capitalize prepositions of five characters or more (“after”, “among”, “between”).)
  4. Lowercase the “to” in an infinitive.

More particular rules include:

Two-Letter Words
Some writers lowercase all two-letter words, probably by extrapolation from the short prepositions “of”, “to”, “up”, and so on, and the word “to” in infinitives. But if a two-letter word is acting as a noun, pronoun, adjective, or adverb, it must be capitalized. For example:

    Go Tell it on the Mountain
    (wrong; “it” is a pronoun and should be capitalized)

    When is a Spade a Spade?
    (wrong; “is” is a verb and should be capitalized)

Multipurpose Words
Some writers lowercase words that can function as prepositions when those words are currently functioning in other capacities. For example:

    The Man in the Moon Owns a Yellow Balloon
    (correct; “in” is functioning as a preposition and should be lowercased)

    Bringing in the Sheaves
    (wrong; “in” is functioning as an adverb and should be capitalized)

Phrasal Verbs
Some writers find it hard to decide how to capitalize a title containing a phrasal verb. Phrasal verbs are verbs whose meaning is completed by a word called a particle. For example, the verb “to give” has a different meaning than the phrasal verb “to give up”.

Like other multipurpose words, words functioning as particles must be distinguished from the same words functioning as prepositions. Particles are always capitalized because they form part of the verb. For example:

    My Travels up Nova Scotia’s South Shore
    (correct; “up” is functioning as a preposition and should be lowercased)

    Setting up Your Computer
    (wrong; “up” is functioning as a particle and should be capitalized)

Mistaken Notions
Grammar just doesn’t sink naturally into everyone’s head. To some writers, the fact that one word resembles another is enough reason to treat those words equally when it comes to capitalization in a title. For example:

    The Time of their Lives
    (wrong; “their” is an adjective and should be capitalized—the writer probably extrapolated from “the”)

Did I write my title correctly this time?


Comments on: "The Title" (13)

  1. sige lang uy basta nasabtan. try this

    tHe TiTLe!…..

    artistic license kasuy!

    • yenskay said:

      hi eds! hoy, duda ko, you know this title writing rules noh? ako ra man siguro wa kabalo ani oy. wa ko naka eyes to the board!

  2. Headline Writing was never a subject matter in any of our English classes primarily because this particular is under Journalism, while our Eng/Comm classes touch on grammar, syntax, spelling, composition, etc. (certainly because this is already very specialized; the way negotiable instruments subject need not be taught to mgt students – but has to be taught to all acctg majors – under business law).

    I’ve come across rules like these in Copyreading and Headline Writing (schools press conferences), as well as in seminars offered in the publications I was part of.

    However, for most people, they don’t really need to know this because there are editors (copy and content) who will be tasked in checking the work of writers or anybody wishing to officially publish one’s work.

    Hala serious kaayo akong comment.

    So you are right, dear, you did not miss a class on this!

  3. erratum:

    should have been –
    “…this particular course is under Journalism…”

  4. yen wa koy kamangkaagan ani uy! clueless ko. hehe

  5. Hi Yen,

    seryoso kaayo ko. Pero oo. i came across them – there’s an entire gamut of these rules actually. Ma’am Lydia Moran was the first to have lectured on this in 1989/1990 ata yon. Then I got another seminar about this in (UP’s) the Philippine Collegian. Then sa Singapore magazine, then sa AIM.

    To be honest, I dont recall everything. But for the purposes of competitions like Copyreading and Headline Writing, you must remember all the rules pati correct symbols. argh.

  6. ahak ma conscious naman lang hinuon ta sa title ani. ga labad akong ulo sa kadaghan reminders.

    • yenskay said:

      ahah gid markv…let’s keep it at two words lang para didto ra ta sa capitalize the first word and the last word, hahaha!

  7. Yen, I capitalize all words on my titles sa personal blogs or personal writing. Pero sa ako work, I follow the rules. I did not know the exact rules pero I kinda figured it out na lang. I hope wala ko mali sa akong mga past writings.

  8. Kinsa si Marcus? Si Mark DVillain? aba aba aba. marcus na pala tayo ngayon.

    okay ah. parang sarj.

    parang jc guapo.

    marcus for markv.

    ayos patos!

  9. bwahaha Jat, jc guapo FYI lang Marcus ang tawag sa ako diri sa office oi.

  10. Hi Marcus.

    Nice name. very modelesque.

    me naman Jamps to my friends made since 1998.

    JC Guapo is something i coined of late.


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