Is Be Capitalized in a Title?

Is be capitalized in a title? Even though title capitalization rules can be complicated, you can easily learn which letters you need to capitalize in the case. 

When studying English grammar in high school, you probably learned about transitioning between sentence case and title case. When you are writing blog posts, articles, essays, and research papers, you need to use title case properly. This is an important part of reflecting on a professional finished product. So, is be capitalized in a title? 

Even though be is a short word, you still need to capitalize short words if they are major words. In this case, be is a verb. Therefore, it needs to be capitalized in title case regardless of where it falls in the title or subtitle. 

What are a few other rules you need to know regarding capitalizing short words in title case? Learn more about title case rules, and make sure you apply them properly in your writing.

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Looking at Style Guides for Title Case

Is be capitalized in a title?

There are lots of style guys that have rules for grammar. For example, the New York Times, the American Psychological Association, and the Associated Press have all published handbooks with grammar rules in them. You might also encounter a stylebook reviewing MLA style in addition to the Chicago Manual of Style. 

Regardless of whether you're following the MLA handbook, AP style, or APA style, the rules about capitalizing words in title case are the same. Therefore, you should not have to struggle to move between various style guides. 

Want to learn more? Read our article about style guide templates. It'll help you pick the right one.

We also explain how to write a style guide for a business.

Comparing Major Words and Minor Words: The Rules

When trying to figure out which words you need to capitalize in title case, you need to learn the difference between major words and minor words. In general, you should not capitalize minor words, but you do need to capitalize major words. 

This comes down to the different parts of speech. You should capitalize proper nouns, nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs because they are major words. In contrast, minor words include articles, short prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, and subordinating conjunctions. You should not capitalize these words except in very specific situations. The part of speech matters. 

There are certain situations where minor words need to be capitalized. These include:

  • If a word is longer than three letters, it always has to be capitalized, regardless of the category it falls into. 
  • You always need to capitalize the first word of the title and the last word of the title. You should even capitalize the first word of a title if it is a minor word.
  • You should also capitalize both words if they are part of a hyphenated compound. 
  • You also need to capitalize words if they follow end punctuation marks. This includes periods, question marks, and exclamation marks. 

If you follow these words, you should be able to figure out when you should capitalize which words. 

Capitalize Be When Following Title Case

Is be capitalized in a title?
Even though be is a short word, you still need to capitalize it because it is a verb

You always need to capitalize be when following title case because this is a verb. Even though be is a short word, you still need to capitalize it because it is a verb. Therefore, it is a major word. Regardless of where this word is located in title case, and needs to be capitalized. 

Final Word on Is Be Capitalized in a Title?

It can be difficult to keep track of these grammar words. Remember that you need to capitalize major words, and you need to capitalize all words that are longer than three letters. This includes the word be, which is a verb. It needs to be capitalized even though it is a short word. 

With a bit of practice, you can learn which words you need to capitalize in title case. You may even want to use a converter or a title capitalization tool to help you. Once you figure out which words you need to capitalize in which situation, they should become second nature to you. Then, you will have an easier time navigating these title capitalization rules.

Need help with fixing capitalization issues in your sentences? A good grammar checker is ideal. It'll help you find and fix odd capitalization issues fast.

To find out more, read our Grammarly review 

FAQs About Is Be Capitalized in a Title?

Does the position of the word in the title or subtitle matter? 

You always need to capitalize major words and words that are longer than three letters. If you have a short word that is a minor word, you still need to capitalize it if it is the first word of the title or the last word of the title. 

How do I know which parts of speech need to be capitalized in title case? 

You always need to capitalize major words. These include verbs, adjectives, adverbs, nouns, pronouns, and proper nouns. Regardless of how long these words are, you always need to capitalize these parts of speech. 

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