On this page: What Is Title Case? • Title Capitalization Rules • What Is Sentence Case? • Using the Converter • Tips and Tricks
What Is Title Case?
Title case is a style that is traditionally used for the titles of books, movies, songs, plays, and other works. In title case, all major words are capitalized, while minor words are lowercased. A simple example would be Lord of the Flies. Title case is often used for headlines as well, such as in newspapers, essays, and blogs, and is therefore also known as headline style.
The capitalization rules are explained in more detail in the next section, but basically title case means that you capitalize every word except articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (and, or, but, …), and (short) prepositions (in, on, for, up, …). This is trickier than it seems because many words can be used in different grammatical functions. For example, in Lay It All on Me, “on” is a preposition and must be lowercased, but it is used as an adjective in It’s On Again and as an adverb in I Could Go On Singing, so it must be capitalized in both cases. Here are some more examples:
- in: The Catcher in the Rye, but Give In to Me (adverb)
- out: Fresh out the Oven, but School’s Out Forever (adjective)
- up: Crawling up a Hill, but Picking Up the Pieces (adverb)
- but: Nothing but the Truth, but Life Is But a Dream (adverb)
- a: Let’s Make a Deal, but The A to Z of TV Gardening (noun)
- by: Stand by Me, but Stand By for Action (adverb)
These examples show that the approach of always lowercasing in, on, by, etc., is inadequate and often leads to incorrect results. This title capitalization tool, therefore, uses more sophisticated methods to capitalize your titles, taking into account the context of each word. This produces highly accurate results, and all of the above examples are handled correctly.
Title Capitalization Rules
Title case is not a universal standard. Instead, there are a number of style guides—for example, the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) and the MLA Handbook—that each have their own rules for capitalizing titles. However, there is a consensus on the basic rules:
- Always capitalize the first word in a title
- Capitalize the following parts of speech:
- pronouns (including it, my, and our )
- verbs (including is, am, and other forms of to be )
- some conjunctions (style-dependent)
- long prepositions (style-dependent)
- Lowercase the following parts of speech:
- some conjunctions (style-dependent)
- short prepositions (style-dependent)
The main differences between the styles are:
- prepositions: According to the AMA manual, the APA manual, and the AP guidelines on composition titles, only prepositions up to three letters are lowercased (in, on, off, out, …). Bluebook and Wikipedia lowercase prepositions up to four letters (from, with, over, like, …). CMOS and MLA lowercase all prepositions, regardless of their length. The New York Times applies special rules: only selected prepositions with two or three letters are lowercased (at, by, in, for, …), while other prepositions of the same length are capitalized (up, off, out, …), as are all prepositions with more than three letters.
- coordinating conjunctions: AMA, AP, APA, MLA, Bluebook, and Wikipedia lowercase all seven: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so (which can be remembered by the mnemonic FANBOYS). CMOS lowercases for, and, nor, but, or, but not yet and so. The New York Times lowercases for, and, but, or, and capitalizes nor, yet, so.
- subordinating conjunctions: AP, APA, and the New York Times lowercase the subordinating conjunctions as and if (Do as I Do, What if We’re Wrong?). CMOS lowercases as but capitalizes if. AMA, Bluebook, MLA, and Wikipedia capitalize both as and if.
- last word: AP, CMOS, MLA, the New York Times, and Wikipedia have a rule that the last word of a title is always capitalized. AMA, APA, and Bluebook do not have such a rule, which means that a preposition at the end of a title is lowercased in these styles (Be Careful What You Wish for).
What Is Sentence Case?
In sentence case style, only the first word of a sentence or title and any proper nouns are capitalized. All other words are lowercase. These rules are simple enough and easy to follow—for humans. For a computer, however, this is a very difficult task. Firstly, there are countless proper nouns (just think of family names). Secondly, many words are only occasionally a proper noun, or part of one. For instance, the word “new” is usually lowercase, but it must be capitalized when it’s part of a proper noun like “New York” or “Green New Deal.”
This sentence case converter does support proper nouns, but the complexity of this task makes it impossible to achieve the same level of accuracy as in the title case conversion. Nevertheless, the results are quite impressive and require only minimal manual revisions.
The converter on this page is meant for titles and headlines. You can use multi-line mode to convert a batch of headlines at once, or single-line mode to convert a single headline to sentence case and simultaneously to one or more title case styles, which enables you to assess which style you like best. To convert longer texts, please visit the designated Sentence Case Converter page.
Using the Converter
You can enter text either by typing or by pasting it from the clipboard. If the option “Convert When Text Is Pasted” is checked, then pasting text automatically triggers the conversion. Otherwise, press “Enter” to start the conversion (only in single-line mode), or press Ctrl+Enter (on a PC) or Cmd+Enter (on a Mac), or click the “Convert” button. After the conversion, you can copy the results to the clipboard by clicking the “Copy” or “Copy All” button, or by pressing Ctrl+C (this works without selecting the text first!).
The converter provides explanations for why each word was capitalized or lowercased. You can see them by hovering over the words of the converted title or by enabling the “Show Explanations” option. If a word has a dotted red line under it, the converter is not sufficiently sure about its capitalization. The explanation text will then provide information to help you decide which alternative is correct. An example title to try this out with is The Monsters Came by Night.
There are several options available. Only the first two influence the result of the conversion:
Keep Words in All Caps: This option affects only the title case conversion. When checked, words entered in all caps will not be changed. For example, the input FREE consultation would be converted to FREE Consultation. When the option is unchecked, the result will be Free Consultation. The converter also recognizes various common acronyms and always converts them to all caps. For example, the inputs usa, uSa, and USA would all result in the output USA, even if “Keep Words in All Caps” unchecked. Inevitably, acronyms that are indistinguishable from regular words are excluded from this special handling (e.g., IT/it or US/us).
Use Straight Quotes: When this option is unchecked, all quotation marks in the titles are converted to curly quotes, also known as “smart” quotes or typographer’s quotes. Enable this option if you prefer straight quotes, also known as "dumb" quotes or typewriter quotes.
Enable Multi-Line Input: Use this option to toggle between single-line and multi-line mode. In single-line mode, only one title can be converted at a time, but in multiple styles, if desired. Multi-line mode allows you to convert up to 30 titles at a time, but only in one style.
Show Explanations: When this option is checked, explanations are shown as to why each word was capitalized or lowercased. This only applies to the title case conversion.
Highlight Changes: When checked, all letters whose capitalization has changed are highlighted in orange.
Convert When Text Is Pasted: When checked, pasting text triggers the conversion. It is not necessary to clear the text box before pasting, as the existing text will be overwritten.
In addition to converting to title or sentence case, the converter also performs small typographical corrections. For example, straight quotes are changed to curly quotes, hyphens are changed to dashes where appropriate, three consecutive periods are converted to an ellipsis, and spaces before question marks, exclamation marks, commas, etc. are removed. For example, "I like rock 'n' roll !" becomes “I Like Rock ’n’ Roll!”
Tips and Tricks
- For a quick way to convert titles, enable the option “Convert When Text Is Pasted.” In your source application, copy the title(s) you want to convert to the clipboard, switch to the Title Case Converter, press Ctrl+V, wait a split second, and press Ctrl+C. Switch back to your application and paste the converted titles there.
- If you want to convert hundreds or thousands of titles or want to integrate the converter into your own application, check out the Title Case Converter API (or its counterpart, the Sentence Case Converter API).
- It is possible to preset the options of the converter by using URL parameters. This makes it possible to share a link to this website that automatically sets the options according to your organization’s guidelines. The URL for the current settings is: . You can also pass a title using the “title” parameter. This will automatically trigger the conversion.
If you find an error or have a suggestion, please contact me.