Why Do We Not Capitalize Every Word In A Title

y u no

Maybe some of you have noticed — a while back I shifted from using the usual standard of title-writing in which ‘unimportant’ ‘little’ words like and, the, for — things like that — are not capitalized unless they’re the first word of the title.

Now I do what you’re not supposed to do. I capitalize every word of a title. I have reasons for doing this despite the fact that the more pedantic grammarians see me doing this and instantly think, “look at this barbarian, stinking up our language. What a clod!”

animated peridot calls yellow diamond a clod

My reason is, I think this little title convention we have is basically the same thing as “never split an infinitive” (yes, some grammarians still complain that Star Trek’s “to boldly go” is wrong, wrong, WRONG).

It’s a silly rule that’s there to make grammarians feel good about enforcing The Rules of Grammar but has no actual value to the language.

It’s an appendix of grammar, but not quite in that an appendix might do something positive for humans (nobody’s really certain, but last I heard the medical profession’s opinion on appendixes is “they might be helpful so let’s leave them alone”) and not capitalizing “and” in the middle of a title does nothing.

Those ‘little useless words’ are not useless.

Here, I’ll cut them out of some titles because they’re so useless, and you tell me:


The Catcher Rye

To Kill Mockingbird

The Lord Rings

Pride Prejudice

The Adventures Huckleberry Finn

Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep

The Left Hand Darkness

Stranger Strange Land

The Day Triffids

Flowers Algernon

See? Little words — little things of all sorts, in fact — are important. Remember that.

—Signed, with love, your favorite 5’3″ tall science fiction writing human man.



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