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Is “Be” Capitalized In A Title? When to Capitalize It

Is “Be” Capitalized In A Title? When to Capitalize It

Are you writing a title with the word “be,” and you’re wondering, is “be” capitalized in a title? Note that this is a common dilemma that some writers and publication editors have to deal with on a daily basis. Luckily, this article will attempt to clarify this issue so that you can have an easier time writing titles with the word “be.”

Although the word “be” is short, it should be capitalized when used in a title. That’s because “be” is a verb. Note that according to the English title writing rules, you should capitalize verbs in a title. 

In titles, you don’t have to capitalize words with a few letters. However, in this case, since “be” is a verb, and more precisely, “to be” is an act of existing, each time you use “be” in a title, ensure that you capitalize it. Let’s learn more about the rules below.

very focus students classroom

Rules for Capitalizing Be

The rule of thumb is “be” should always be written in capital letters. Though this is the case, make sure you familiarize yourself with the common capitalization rules. That way, you will have an easy time writing your books, articles, and other publications. 

There are various writing styles, all of which have different capitalization rules. That is a major reason to understand the general capitalization rules. With this, you feel more confident in your writing; regardless of the writing rules you use, these style guides will always hold. Let’s look at when to capitalize “be.”

Capitalize when it’s the First Word

When writing a topic, the one rule that does not change is that you should always capitalize the first word of the topic. The same rule applies even when the first word is “be.”

Example sentences:

  • Since Jane read the book “Be Confident and Smile More,” her attitude on how she views things have changed for the better.
  • Everyone in class found the poem written by Stephen titled “Be Near, Be Far.”
  • Her boyfriend dedicated “Be Mine” to her during their valentine’s celebrations.

Capitalize When it’s The Last Word 

You should capitalize the last word in a title. This is another English capitalization rule that does not change. Regardless of the writing style, the last word in a title is capitalized even when that word is “be.”

Example sentences:

  • Did you like Prince’s song dedicated to his father, “You Are Everything I Want to Be?”
  • Grace cried when we watched the play “We Were Never Meant to Be.”
  • I have never watched the documentary on “The Future: How It Might Be,” yet it is the only thing that everyone in the class is talking about.

Capitalize Even With Verbs and Helping Verbs

You should always capitalize verbs and phrasal verbs each time you write them in a title. This rule applies to helping verbs which include the word “be.” It is vital to capitalize “be” from this rule each time you use the word in a title.

Example sentences:

  • David was determined to save his marriage, which is one of the reasons he bought the book “How to Be a Better Husband.”
  • Our teacher gave us the assignment to read and review the book “How to Be Free.”
  • Not everyone understands the meaning of the poem “For How Long Shall I Be Poor.”

If the Word Follows a Punctuation Mark

Another capitalization rule that does not change is the need to capitalize the word if it follows the end of a punctuation mark in your topic. This applies even if the word is “be.” It does not matter what you are writing as long as “be” has followed a punctuation mask; make sure you capitalize it.

Example sentences:

  • I choose to read the book Arise! Be Not Afraid since I found the title interesting.
  • It was not easy fighting my addiction, but the book “It Is Now Time: Be in Control” helped me navigate the journey to being sober.
  • Each time I read the book “Witchcraft! Be” I can’t help but be afraid of witchcraft’s impact on society.

reading blurry woman

Exceptions for Capitalizing Be

Most people assume the word “be” needs to be in lowercase, but this is a false analogy. There are no exception rules for writing “be” in titles that require you to use lowercases. Some might lowercase the first character of the word in non-formal literature, but that’s still a grammar mistake.

The only time short words are capitalized in titles are prepositions. Due to many confusions and dedications, it is vital to understand that the word “be” is a verb, and it does not fall under the short words of the prepositions that do not need to be capitalized. Therefore, when writing this word in the title, ensure that you have written the first letter “b” in uppercase.

Example sentences:

  • One of my favorite classics is “Always Be My Baby.”
  • It is disappointing how a comic series, “We Will Be Back,” has not been renewed for a new season.
  • Before my nursing exam, I plan to read “How to Be a Better Nurse.”

Some Edge Cases When Capitalizing Be in Titles

Another reason why capitalizing the word “be” is confusing is because the English rules state that all words with four letters or less are not capitalized. You just need to know that this only applies to prepositions. So, since “be” is a verb, it does not fall under this category. You should not forget to capitalize it when writing a topic.

Example sentences:

  • The short story published this month is titled “This Might Be the End.”
  • The thesis I will be writing will have the title, “What Might Be the Major Cause of Poverty in America.”
  • The musician said that the launch of his album Be Specific will take place in the park.

10 Example Sentences with Correct Capitalization of Be

Reading various sentences with titles that contain the word “be” will help you understand how to use this word in different instances. Here are ten sentence examples worth checking out.

  1. The assignment was “Research on How to Be a Better Citizen.”
  2. The sermon by the preacher was “How to Be Better Christians.”
  3. Everyone except my mother wanted to watch the movie “This Was Meant to Be.”
  4. When our manager told us to develop a great title for a wedding song, we settled on “Be Mine and Be Happy.”
  5. Grace left her novel “I Will Never Be the Same” in my car.
  6. I always look forward to reading the magazine “Be in Style” each month to get updates about what is happening in the fashion world.
  7. We were asked to discuss the topic “How Public Transport Can Be Beneficial.”
  8. After reading “Be Yourself and Be Smart,” I felt like I could do anything I set my mind to do.
  9. Who has seen my book “Partying Too Much Can Be Harmful?”
  10. The action movie “All I Wanted to Be” is quite interesting.


Keeping up with all the grammar rules and new words, especially when it comes to capitalization, can be challenging. Remember that the general title capitalization rule is to capitalize all the major words and words longer than four letters. In the case of the word “be,” though it is a short letter, it is also a verb. That means it is a very important word, and you need to capitalize it when writing it in all forms of titles. Go ahead and practice using the word.