What words do I capitalize in my essay title?


When capitalizing words in a title you create for an essay, there are common rules that overlap between various writing styles, such as AP (Associated Press), APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), and Chicago.

Regardless of the writing style you are using for a class, here are set rules for capitalizing words in your essay's title:

1) Always capitalize the first word and the last word in a title. Here are examples of titles that have their first words and last words capitalized.

Example: Gone with the Wind 

Example: Into the Woods

Example: Something in the Way 

2) Always capitalize what are called the "important words": nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and subordinating conjunctions. Let's look at an example:

Example: All Quiet on the Western Front

The first word and last word are capitalized ("All" and "Front") as well as the two adjectives ("Quiet" and "Western"). The words "on" and "the" are not capitalized in this title, which leads us to the third rule...

3) Do NOT capitalize prepositions, articles, and coordinating conjunctions.

Example: The Fire in the Sky and a Rainfall

Keep in mind that while articles (a, an, the) are not capitalized in a title, the first word and last word always are. Therefore, the first word of this title ("The") is an article, but it must be capitalized since it is the first word.

However, the second "the" in this title is not capitalized since it is an article and is not the first or last word of the title. This is also why the words "in," "and," and "a" are not capitalized: Respectively, they are a preposition, a coordinating conjunction, and an article that are not the first or last word. 

Here are a few more examples of various titles. Consider why certain words are capitalized while others are not.

True Blood


Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Rise and Fall of the Halo Series

Because I Could Not Stop for Death

A Doll's House

All Because of Love

Call Me by Your Name

Catch Me if You Can

If you need further assistance with understanding which words to capitalize in your essay title, watch the attached video.

  • Last Updated Jun 01, 2023
  • Views 4
  • Answered By Jonna

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