I don’t know if you’ve noticed… I am hopeless at capitalising blog titles. It’s a bit of a hit and miss affair. I know my blog title should start with a capital. The important words also need capitals and the smaller unimportant ones don’t… have I got that right? Important… unimportant? How do I decide what is important and unimportant? Has it anything to do with word length? … Or perhaps it’s all to do with parts of speech.
I decided to do a bit of research and discovered an article, What Words Do I Capitalize in a Title? The author begins: I am sometimes surprised that so few people know which words are supposed to be capitalized in a title and which are not, because the rules are so few and so simple.
And the rules are simple… if you have a simple knowledge of grammar, in particular, the parts of speech.
Grammar? Years ago I was certain I had to give formal grammar lessons to my children…
When Felicity was about ten years old I bought her this wonderful grammar workbook. Every day she sat down and filled in the pages neatly and accurately and I was so pleased. It all looked very impressive. Felicity was learning about aspects of grammar I’d never even heard of. She was getting a thorough education.
Then one day I took Felicity’s book and flipped back a few pages. I started quizzing her on her previous work, and I discovered she wasn’t getting a thorough education at all. She couldn’t remember a word of the work she’d supposedly completed. All she was doing every day was working out the answers, writing them down neatly for me to mark, and then forgetting them.
I decided perhaps I needed to quiz Felicity on her work routinely so she retained it but this turned out to be a painful exercise.
“Do I really need to know all this grammar, Mum?” she asked me. I thought about it and concluded she didn’t. When was she ever going to need to know everything in that beautifully presented thorough grammar workbook? We discarded the book with relief and moved onto other more relevant things.
Children will learn something when they see a need for it. One day Felicity did discover a good reason for learning grammar. We all began to study Latin and grammar suddenly became relevant. And when something becomes relevant, it is understood and remembered.
But back to my blog post titles…
Once again I can see a need for grammar. It will help me decide which words to capitalise in those tricky blog post titles. Instead of sprinkling capitals into random words, I could learn how to do it properly.
I’ve got nouns and verbs worked out and adjectives and adverbs are quite simple. But what sort of word is ‘what’ and ‘because’? I think I will borrow Andy’s school grammar book and see if I can work things out.
Children will learn something when they see a need for it. So will mothers. With the help of the grammar book, I hope I’ll soon have all my blog titles looking correct and respectable.
Does anyone else have trouble with capitals and titles?
PS Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a very entertaining book about punctuation. See my post The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation for details.