Title Case vs. Sentence case

At a recent communications group meeting we launched a new marketing communications style guide, which uses sentence case for titles. There were a lot of confused faces around the table. Here’s the quick and dirty.

Title case capitalizes every word in a headline or title, like this: “The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog.” It’s widely used by many U.S. publications and news outlets and frankly, it’s how we learned to write in elementary school.

On the other hand, sentence case only capitalizes the first letter of the title, like this: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

Sentence case is the standard in the Canadian Press (CP) style guide and is used by publications and news outlets like the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s magazine and CBC News. So while you may not notice it, sentence case is actually widely adopted.

When I first came across this rule I was SHOCKED and I just couldn’t get the hang of sentence case. Luckily I had a great manager who put the things pretty simply for me. Title case is like using an antique typewriter, it may be something you learned and remember, but language has evolved. Capitalization is reserved for proper nouns and formal names.

If you are in communications and you don’t use the CP style guide, pick up a copy (maybe as a gift to yourself for the holidays?), it’s a fantastic resource that really helped me learn all those quirky writing rules.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay.com
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