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Capitalizing words in titles, headings and subheadings

by Catherine Jan on August 22, 2013

I get a bit crazy when it comes to capitalizing as you may have seen in Brand names and internal capital letters. It irks me to see MasterCard and PayPal misspelled. I equate this lack of attention to detail with downright sloppiness. As writers and translators, it’s our job to keep our eyes peeled for what is capitalized and what is not.

My current gig involves using title case on headings of Canadian English-language websites. So when do you press that shift button and use that mighty capital letter? has the answer. Thanks to a colleague who recommended this magical converter, my capitalization conundrums are over. to the rescue

Insert your title into the text box. Let’s type “Bringing fresh produce right to your doorstep” and see what happens.








Then press “convert” and your decision about what to capitalize is made for you.






The resulting title: Bringing Fresh Produce Right to Your Doorstep. So only the word “to” does not get capitalized.

Easy, right? Well…

Is 100% fool-proof?

No. Enter compound adjectives.

Let’s try “Promoting eco-friendly lifestyles” and you’ll see where it errs (in my humble opinion).









This is how it converts.






I’d rather see the letter F capitalized: Promoting Eco-Friendly Lifestyles. This title has more visual appeal.

Let’s experiment a bit more: Prosecutors expect more arrests in art-fraud scheme.









Press “convert” and see what happens to the compound adjective.







Oh no. That sentence doesn’t sit right. The latter part of a compound adjective should be capitalized.

Thankfully, The New York Times doesn’t put all of its faith in










Fraud gets a capital F. Much better!

Title case folly

Some writers over-capitalize. (This hurts me as much as seeing French headlines in title case. Just say non.)













Show restraint, people!



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