Input: Yu Pin
1. Make sure the phrase you're working with is actually a title.
The following are titles that should be in title case:
Titles of works (books, movies, articles, songs, magazines)
Titles of academic tests or papers
In sentence case, the only thing that should be capitalized is the sentence's first word and any proper nouns.
2. Capitalize the first word in a title.
So, in the title The Perks of Being a Wallflower, make sure to capitalize The—it's the very first word, and its capitalization tips off the reader that, hey, the title's officially starting.
3. Capitalize all major words in a title.
How do we define a “major word”? Good question. A “major word” is a subject, noun, adjective, or verb—basically, any word whose meaning impacts the sentence and isn't a short little conjunction or preposition.
In the title Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, “Tell,” “Mom,” “Babysitter,” and “Dead” are all major words—they're verbs (tell), nouns (mom, babysitter), and adjectives (dead describes the babysitter), and they all very much impact the sentence's meaning.
4. While you're at it, capitalize every word that is four letters or longer.
If a word is longer than four letters, it automatically becomes “major”.
5. Do a final skim for tricky punctuation that might change the rules of title case.
The English language—and its titles—are rarely simple. They're often broken up by punctuation. Titles, in particular, often feature colons.
Check out the following movie titles featuring colons:
Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Notice a pattern? Anything after the colon starts with a capital letter, like it's a brand new sentence (or title)—even if it's a minor, short word,. The same goes for movie titles like Lust, Caution that feature a comma in the middle: anything after the punctuation is capitalized anew.
That way, you can apply the movie titles' rules to songs, academic papers, and even PowerPoint headings to determine when to use title case.