Skip to Content

The List of Words Not Capitalized In Titles: A Style Guide

The List of Words Not Capitalized In Titles: A Style Guide

Did you know that the earliest form of Latin words didn’t have lower cases? Historically, alphabets used to be all-caps all the time, but since the introduction of lowercase, capitalization rules have changed. So, what is in the list of words you do not capitalize in titles?

The English rules of writing titles are generally the same. However, based on the writing styles and words used, there might be some exceptions. That notwithstanding, articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, and short words should not be capitalized when writing titles.

The general capitalization rule is to capitalize all words in a title unless they fall in the category highlighted above. Proper capitalization is essential for professional writers as it indicates professionalism, knowledge of grammar, and tidiness. Let’s now dive straight into learning more about proper capitalization rules and the words not to capitalize in titles.

university classroom


Articles are words used to modify a noun, and in the English language, they are “the, a, and an.” The articles will always appear in titles, and it is best to know how to write them so that your work comes out perfect. Therefore, if you use any of these words in a title, ensure you use them in a lowercase form as that is proper for title capitalization.

Examples in sentences:

  • The teacher told us to research “Does Learning Change the Brain’s Physical Structure?”
  • I got a new insight into babies when I read “Can an Infant Learn?”
  • The movie theater was packed during the premiere of the comical movie “Catch a Break Today.”

The Exception on Capitalizing Articles in Titles

The only time to capitalize articles in a title is when the article is either first or last. Note that this is a general English writing rule. It does not matter what part of speech the first or last word is in a title; ensure you write the first letter in uppercase.

Examples in sentences:

  • The lecturer told us to read “The Space Book” before the next lesson.
  • The therapist advised the couple to read “The Five Love Languages before Wed.”
  • Each time I read the book “A Closer Look,” I usually find myself thinking of improving my life.


The other part of speech that you do not capitalize when writing a topic is prepositions. Propositions are used to govern a noun and pronoun and also express a relation to another word. Therefore, if the title you are writing has a preposition, proper title capitalization rules state that you should not capitalize it.

Examples in sentences:

  • We were excited to watch the film “Storm over Wyoming.”
  • If you enjoy collecting art, you will enjoy watching “Hullabaloo over George and Bonnie’s Pictures.”
  • Have you read the book “Love Goes on Your Mind?”

The Exception to Capitalizing Prepositions in Titles

The general rule in English about capitalizing titles is that you should not capitalize all the prepositions in titles. But what makes most people confused is that there are times when you will have to capitalize the preposition, and other issues such as proper title case. They include:

When Using the AP Style

English has numerous writing styles, and all the writing styles have a rule that all prepositions in titles should be lowercase. But that is not the case with the AP English writing style. According to the AP English writing rule, prepositions that are four words or more should be capitalized. Here is a look at how to write titles with prepositions in AP style.

Examples in sentences:

  • Fred Hemingway wrote the book “Flying Among the Birds.”
  • Everyone was excited when Mary Waines released her debut album. “Everyone is Walking Outside the Law.”
  • I would recommend “Bringing Down the House” for those who require a great movie to watch with the family.


Conjunctions are words used to connect phrases and clauses. These are common words writers will always include in sentences, irrespective of the content written. When using such words in tiles, do not capitalize the first word.

Examples in sentences:

  • Do you find the Shakespeare story “Romeo and Juliet” interesting?
  • James titled his thesis “Big Bang Theory Facts or Fiction.”
  • His lecture focused more on the book “Give but Don’t Expect.”

The Exception to Capitalizing Conjunctions In Titles

The writing rule is that you should not capitalize short conjunctions when writing them in titles. But if the coordinating conjunctions are four words or more, you should capitalize them.

portrait blonde woman

Examples in sentences include:

  • I thought I was too old to achieve anything in life until I read “Meeting Your Goals Even When Retired.”
  • He decided to write a romantic play titled: “I Will Wait Because I Love You.”
  • Our teamwork thesis research was on “Teen Pregnancy because of Poverty.”

Short Words

The other group of words that you should not capitalize in a title is the short words. Short words that are three words or fewer should always be written in lowercase, even if they are a part of a title.

Example in sentences:

  • Simon has always wanted to become a pilot since he first read the book “Learn How to Fly.”
  • I have read many books on getting rich like “How to be a Billionaire,” but I have not yet discovered the secret.
  • The assignment we got was research on “How to Deliver Mothers With High Blood Pressure.”

The Exception to Capitalizing Short Words in Titles

English writing has many rules, but the one constant thing is that you should not capitalize all the small words in a title. That is the case regardless of the writing style that you are using. You can only capitalize the small words when they are the first or the last word in a topic.

10 Sentence Examples on List of Words not Capitalized in a Title

Reading about the list of words you should not capitalize on in a title is insufficient. The best way to understand the words to write is by reading and practicing. Here are ten sentence examples to help you further understand the topic.

  1. If you are searching for a good book for your kids, get “Jack and the Beanstalk.”
  2. We had to research the topic, “Are Musicians Good Role Models?”
  3. After our lessons, the teacher told us to write a thesis on “Poverty: Who is to Blame?”
  4. I never knew of an animation film based on the book: “The Princess and the Frog.”
  5. The news article I was talking about is: titled “Why Domestic Violence is on the Rise.”
  6. Joe and Tim wanted to adopt a child, so they booked a book titled: “Gay Partners and Child Adoption.”
  7. The debate will start soon, so we better prepare; the topic of the debate is “Should Homework be Abolished?”
  8. I love all the songs by Queens, but my favorite song is “Who Wants to Live Forever.”
  9. Leonardo DiCaprio has acted in many movies, but nobody gets tired of watching “Body of Lies.”
  10. I finally managed to read the book “Killers of the Flower Moon.”


When writing a title, you need to follow English rules, especially if your work is professional. Note that your title is the first thing people will read before reviewing your work. If the title is not well written, it might negatively affect your work even before reading it.

That is why you need to take the time to learn the list of words not to capitalize in your titles. By learning these words, you will have an easier time writing your project. It might seem difficult to master at first, but you will soon become a pro if you practice. Good luck!