Capitalization

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All show, recording, release, and song titles & names should be in standard mixed case, where the first letter of each word is capitalized and followed by lowercase letters, as noted below:

Always capitalize

First and last word of a title

Always capitalize the first and last word of a title even if it would otherwise be lowercase.

  • The Show Must Go On
  • With So Little To Be Sure Of
  • What Am I Waiting For

Nouns, verbs, adverbs, subordinating conjunctions, adjectives, pronouns

Always capitalize nouns, verbs (including be, been, am, are, is, was, and were), adverbs, subordinating conjunctions (including if and as when it is not used as a preposition), adjectives (including so when used as an adjective), and pronouns (including he, she, we, and it).

  • What Kind of Fool Am I?
  • June Is Bustin' out All over
  • I Know How It Is
  • Wouldn't It Be Loverly?

Long prepositions

All prepositions with four or more letters, such as into, from, with, upon, etc., should be capitalized.

  • If He Walked Into My Life
  • They Can't Take That Away From Me
  • The Surrey With the Fringe on Top

Do not capitalize

Articles

Don't capitalize articles (a, an, the), unless the article is part of an artist's name.

  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  • Diana Ross & The Supremes Sing and Perform Funny Girl

Coordinating conjunctions

Don't capitalize coordinating conjunctions: and, but, or, nor, for, yet and so.

  • Nick and Nora
  • Come Rain or Come Shine

Special Note: But

The word but can function as either a conjunction, preposition, or an adverb. Most of the time, it functions as a conjunction or a preposition and should be lowercase. Much less frequently, it will function as an adverb, and should be capitalized. In that case, the word but will immediately follow a verb (without a comma), and can be replaced by other adverbs like only or just (without changing anything else or adding punctuation) and will convey the same message:

  • Life Is But a Dream

If the word but is better replaced by the word except, or if it is used in a phrase that contradicts the first half of the sentence, it is not an adverb and should be lowercase.

  • I Ain't Got Nothin' but the Blues
  • I Know You Are but What Am I

Short (three letters or less) prepositions

Don't capitalize these prepositions: as, at, by, for, in, of, on, to

  • Sondheim at the Movies
  • Way Back to Paradise
  • Flowers for Algernon
  • Trouble in Tahiti

Special Note: Preposition vs. adverb

Be aware that the words as, by, in, on and to in the list of prepositions above all can function as adverbs as well and should be capitalized as such. Examples:

  • Keep On Rockin' in the Free World
  • Come In From the Cold

When used to form an infinitive: to

  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
  • Mama, I Want to Sing

Other cases

Major punctuation

If a title is broken up by major punctuation (colon :, question mark ?, exclamation mark !, em-dash —, parentheses (, or quotes "), treat each distinct piece of the title as a whole, and always capitalize the first and last words of each division.

  • By George! By Ira! By Gershwin!
  • Broadway: The Golden Age

Hyphens

In compounds formed by hyphens, capitalize each part except where the part would not be capitalized if it were a separate word.

  • Cry-Baby
  • Go-Go Beach

Acronyms or abbreviations

Only use all caps for acronyms or abbreviations where common use is all caps.

  • H.M.S. Pinafore
  • R.S.V.P. The Cole Porters

Contractions and slang words

Capitalize contractions and slang consistent with the rules above to the extent that such clearly apply. For example, do not capitalize o' for of, or n' for and, etc.

  • I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'
  • A Rock 'n' Roll Twelfth Night

Group names with and

Proper nouns should always be capitalized appropriately. This includes parts of group names separated by the word and (for example) where the two parts could stand alone, grammatically.

  • Freddie and The Dreamers
  • K. C. and The Sunshine Band

Exceptions

In the case where an artist uses a non-standard capitalization with an artistic intent, the original capitalization used by the artist should be preserved. Examples include:

  • k.d. lang

Note that there are cases in which the name of an artist or album - or an entire tracklisting - is written entirely in uppercase or lowercase in the art which accompanies a release. These instances do not qualify as an exception, because they do not represent artistic intent regarding capitalization (in most cases, they are written in this manner for aesthetic purposes related to the cover art).



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