Is that capitalized in a title in English grammar? It can be challenging to figure out when you should be capitalizing words in title case. Let’s unpick them.
Regardless of whether you are writing an essay for English class or a scientific research paper, it is important to move seamlessly between sentence case and title case. This is important for presenting a professional, finished product. A lot of people instinctively leave short words lowercase when they are writing a title. Unfortunately, this is not always correct. For example, is that capitalized?
You should always capitalize the word that when you are writing a title, subtitle, header, or subheader. This world is longer than three letters, so it needs to be capitalized. Even though this word can change its part of speech depending on how you use it, it always needs to be capitalized because of how long it is.
What else do you need to know about lowercase and capital letters in title case? Take a look below!
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Different Style Guides, Similar Title Case Rules
You might be used to working with multiple style guides; however, no matter what stylebook you use, your title case rules should be similar. Reputable organizations have developed their own style points including the New York Times, the Associated Press, the American Psychological Association, and even the Chicago Manual of Style.
Regardless of whether you are following MLA style from the MLA Handbook, AP Style, or APA style, title case rules are similar. You need to consider the length of the word and the part of speech of the word before you decide which words need to be capitalized in title case.
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.
Parts of Speech Determine Major Words and Minor Words
When you try to follow title capitalization rules, you need to determine the parts of speech of the words you are working with. In general, you should capitalize the first letter of major words, but you do not need to capitalize minor words.
Major words include nouns, pronouns, proper nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs. In contrast, minor words include articles, subordinating conjunctions, coordinating conjunctions, and short prepositions.
A few other important rules to follow include:
- All words that are four letters long or longer need to be capitalized, regardless of where they fall in the title.
- You always need to capitalize the first word of the title and the last word of the title. Even if the first word of a title is a short, minor word, you still need to capitalize it.
- Capitalize all words that follow end punctuation marks, including periods, question marks, and exclamation marks.
- If you have two words that are part of a hyphenated compound, they both need to be capitalized.
If you need help learning these rules, you may want to use a title capitalization tool or a converter to help you.
Capitalize That in Title Case
If you are using the word “that” in a title, it needs to be capitalized. It is longer than three letters, so it should be capitalized. Furthermore, the part of speech of the word “that” can change. Depending on how you use it, it could be an article, conjunction, an adverb, a pronoun, or an adjective. For example:
- Pronoun: Who handed you that?
- Conjunction: I forgot that you got lost.
Even though the part of speech can change, that is longer than three letters. Therefore, it needs to be capitalized in title case.
Final Word on Is That Capitalized in a Title?
Even though it can be difficult to learn title capitalization rules, they are important for properly structuring your work. You always need to capitalize the word that in a title because it is longer than three letters. While the part of speech can change depending on how you use this term, you must make sure it is capitalized.
If you are having trouble learning how to apply these rules, the best way to master them is to practice. You might even want to take advantage of an automated tool that can check your work behind you as you write.
Need help with fixing title capitalization issues work? A good grammar checker saves hours of editing time. It’ll help you find and fix odd capitalization issues fast. You can also set rules about capitalizations and house style.
To find out more, read our Grammarly review
FAQs About Is That Capitalized in a Title?
Why does the part of speech of that change depending on how you use it?
That can be a pronoun, conjunction, adverb, or article depending on how you use it in the sentence. It is important to diagram the sentence to see how every word is being used. That way, you can see how the part of speech can change.
Is it a good idea for me to use an automated tool to check title case?
Even though you want to learn the rules independently, it can still be good to use a tool as practice.
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