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Friday, July 24, 2009

Criminal Sentence 252: Headline Capitalization

A headline from something I recently edited:

"What can Airbags do for you?"

There are three schools of thought about head style. You can capitalize the first letter of all words all the time (that's easy enough to remember), you can capitalize the first letter of everything except words like "and," "of" and "the," or you can capitalize just the first word and any proper names.
This headline here follows none of these styles, so I deem it a criminal.
Some publications/offices have a style guide that tells employees which way to go. I prefer the cap everything style, mostly because then I don't have to struggle to remember which words need caps and which don't.
Does your publication/office have a style preference for heads?


Connie said...

Yes. We use what is called "downstyle" where you capitalize the first word and any proper nouns. Think of it as a sentence, because that's what a headline should be. You just don't put a period on the end.

Connie said...

I should have added that I would not capitalize airbags, which is in your example. It's not a proper noun.

Michael Casagrande said...

I agree with Connie. I hate it when people capitalize the first word of every sentence. It doesn't make any sense. You wouldn't cap it in any other situation. The caps make it harder on the eye when scanning. It is just a pet peeve unless it is a proper noun.