Titles of Works (Part 4)

8.171   Quotations as Titles.  When a quoted sentence, or at least a full clause, is used as a title, sentence-style capitalization is often appropriate.  A following subtitle–or, if the quotation is the subtitle, a preceding title–may be in headline style.

“We all live more like brutes than like humans”. Labor and Capital in the Gold Rush


My Kingdom for a Horse:  Memoirs of a Disappointed Car Owner’

8.172   Quoted titles: font and capitalization.  When quoted in text or listed in a bibliography, titles of books, journals, plays, and other freestanding works are italicized (see 8.178); titles of articles, chapters, and other shorter works are set in roman and enclosed in quotation marks (see 8.187).  Only initialisms or acronyms should be set in full capitals.  For foreign titles, see (10.3-7).

Many editors use The Chicago Manual of Style

Refer to the article titled “A Comparison of the MLA and the APA Style Manuals”

8.173   Subtitles.  A subtitle, whether in sentence-style or headline-style capitalization, always begins with a capital letter.  Although on a title page or in a chapter heading a subtitle is often distinguished from a title by a different typeface, when quoted in text or listed in bibliography it is separated from the title by a colon.  When an em dash rather than a colon is used, what follows the em dash is not normally considered to be a subtitle, and the first word is not necessarily capitalized.  See also 17.54.

“Manuals of Style:  Guidelines, Not Strangleholds” (heading style)

Tapetum character states:  Analytical keys (sentence style)


Chicago–a Good Town

8.174   Permissible changes in quoted titles.  When a title is quoted, its original spelling (including non-Latin letters such as π or ϒ), hyphenization, and punctuation should be preserved regardless of the style used in the surrounding text (but see 8.175).  Capitalization should also be preserved, except that words in full capitals on the original title page should be set in upper and lower case (see 8.172).  As a matter of editorial discretion, an ampersand (&) may be changed to and, or, more rarely a numeral may be spelled out.  See also 17.52.

8.175   Punctuation in quoted titles.  On title pages, where the title often appears in very large type, commas area sometimes omitted from the ends of lines.  When a title is quoted, such commas should be added.  (Serial commas need to be added only if it is clear that they are used in the work itself.)  A date at the end of a title or subtitle sometimes appears on a line by itself; when quoted, it should be preceded by a comma.  If title and subtitle on a title a page are distinguished by typeface, a colon must be added when the subtitle is quoted.  A dash in the original should be retained. (for two subtitles in the original. (see 17.54).  The following examples illustrate the way quoted titles and subtitles are normally punctuated and capitalized in running text, notes, and bibliographies using headline capitalization.  The first three are books, the fourth is an article.

Disease, Pain and Sacrifice:  Toward a Psychology of Suffering

Melodrama Unveiled:  American Theater and Culture, 1800-1850

Browning’s Roman Murder Story:  A Reading of “The Ring and the Book”

“Milton Freedman’s “Capitalism and Freedom—a Best Seller for Chicago”

For more on titles within titles (as in the third and fourth examples above, see 8.184, 8.187.)

8.176   Punctuation vis-à-vis surrounding text.  Since a title is a noun form, any punctuation within it should not affect punctuation of the surrounding text.  See also 6.43, 8.185.

8.177   Double titles.  Old-fashioned double titles (or titles and subtitles) connected by or are traditionally quoted as in the first example, less traditionally but more simply as in the second.  In both forms, the second title begins with a capital.  Either form is acceptable if used consistently.

England’s Monitor, or, The History of the Separation

England’s Monitor or The History of the Separation

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition


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Titles of Works (Part 3)

8.168   Hyphenated compounds in titles. Two options for capitalizing a hyphenated compound in headline style are offered here—first, a simple rule (see 8.169), beloved of some but disdained by others, and second, a complex but more traditional set of rules (see 8.170). Contrary to practice elsewhere in this manual, the first option, requiring a single paragraph, precedes the one generally preferred by Chicago.

8.169   Hyphenation: the simple rule. Capitalize only the first element unless any subsequent element is a proper noun or adjective.

Death-defying feats by Nineteenth-century Tightrope Walkers

An All-American Girl: How a Non-English-speaking Immigrant Made Good

8.170   Hyphenation: the more traditional rules. (1) Always capitalize the first element. (2) Capitalize any subsequent elements unless they are articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, or, nor) or such modifiers as flat or sharp following musical key symbols. (3) If the first element is merely a prefix or combining form that could stand by itself as a word (anti, pre, etc.), do not capitalize te second element unless it is a proper noun or proper adjective. (4) Do not capitalize the second element in a hyphenated spelled out number (twenty-one, etc.). (5) Break a rule when it doesn’t work (see the last three examples below).

Under-the-Counter Transactions and Out-of-Fashion Initiatives

Sugar-and-Spice Stories for Girls or Boys

Record-Breaking Borrowings from Medium-Sized Libraries

Cross-Stitching for Beginners

The E-flat Concerto

Self-Sustaining Reactions

A Two-thirds Majority of Non-English Speaking Representatives

Anti-intellectual Pursuits

Does E-mail Alter Speech Patterns?

Lolita’s Twenty-first Birthday

A History of the Chicago Lying-in Hospital


Twenty-First Century History (first, if lowercased, would look inconsistent here)

Hand-me-downs and Forget-me-nots (lowercase short and unstressed elements)

Run-ins ad Take-offs (lowercase short and unstressed elements)

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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Titles of Works, Part 2


8.167  The conventions of headline style, admittedly arbitrary, are governed by a mixture of aesthetics (the appearance of a title on a printed page), emphasis, and grammar.  Some words are always capitalized; some are always lowercased (unless used as the first or last word in a title);  others require a decision.  Chicago recommends the following rules,  pragmatic rather than logically rigorous but generally accepted:  (1) Always capitalize the first and last words both in titles and in subtitles and in all other major words (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and some conjunctions–but see rule 4).  (2) Lowercase the articles, the, a, and  an.  (3) Lowercase prepositions, regardless of length, except when they are stressed (through, in A River Runs Through It), are used adverbially or adjectivally (up as in Look Up, down in Turn Down, on in The On Button, etc.), are used  as conjunctions (before in Look Before You Leap, etc.), or are part of a Latin expression used adjectivally adverbially (De Facto, In Vitro, etc.).  (4) Lowercase the conjunctions and, but, for, or, nor.  (5)  Lowercase the words to and as in any grammatical function, for simplicity’s sake.  (6) Lowercase the second part of a species name, such as Ilucius, as in Esox lucius, or the part of a proper name that would be lowercased in text such as de or von.  For hyphenated terms see 8.168-70.  For words that can be used as prepositions, as adverbs, or as adjectives, consult Webster.  All of the following examples illustrate rule 1; the  numbers in parentheses refer to rules 2-6.

Mnemonics That Work Are Better Than Rules That Don’t.

Singing While You Work

A Little Learning is a Dangerous Thing (2)

Four Theories concerning the Gospel according to Matthew (3)

Taking down Names, Spelling Them Out, and Typing Them Up (3, 4)

Tired But Happy (4)

The Editor as Anonymous Assistant (5)

From Homo Erectus to Homo sapiens:  A Brief History (3, 5, 6)

Sitting on the Floor in an Empty Room,  but Turn On, Tune In, and Enjoy (3)

Traveling with Fido, but A Good Dog to Travel With (3,5)

Voting for the Bond Issue, but Voting For and Against the Bond Issue (3)

Ten Hectares per Capita, but Landownership and Per Capita Income (e)

Progress in In Vitro Fertilization (3)

If you are not sure what grammatical function a word is performing (even if you are), try reading the title aloud; if you would stress the word, capitalize it; if not, lowercase it.  See also 5.170.

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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Titles of Works

Capitalization, Hyphenation, and Punctuation

8.164  Overview.  The following guidelines apply to titles as the appear on title pages; in tables of contents; at chapter, title, article, or section openings; and cited in text or notes.  They apply to titles of books, journals, newspapers and other freestanding publications as well as to shorter works (stories, poems, articles, etc.), divisions of longer works (parts, chapters, sections), unpublished works  (lectures, etc.) plays and films, radio and television programs, musical works and artworks.  For details on citing titles in notes and bibliographies, see chapters 16 and 17.

8.165  Capitalization.  In their original form (on title pages or at the head of articles or chapters) most titles appear either in capitals and lower case, “clc” (Like This), or in caps and small caps, “csc” (LIKE THIS).  Regardless of their original appearance, quoted titles may be capitalized in either sentence style (8.166) or, more commonly in headline style (see 8.167).  For capitalization of foreign titles, see 10.3.

8.166  Sentence style.  In sentence-style capitalization only the first world in a title, the first word in a subtitle, and any proper names are capitalized.    This style is commonly used in reference lists (see chapter 16) and library catalogs.  It is also useful in works whose section headings are very long or in works whose headings include terms (such as species names) that require their own internal capitalization.  For quotations as titles, see 8.171.

Crossing Magnolia denudata with M. Lilliflora to create a new hybrid:  A success story

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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Brand Names and Trademarks

8.162     Trademarks.  Brand names that are registered trademarks — often so indicated in dictionaries–should be capitalized if they must be used.  A better choice is to substitute a generic term when available.  Although the symbols ® and ™ often accompany trademark names on product packaging and in promotional material, there is no legal requirement to use these symbols, and they should be omitted wherever possible.  Note also that some companies want people to use both the the proper and generic terms in reference to their product (“Kleenex facial tissue,” not just “Kleenex”), but here again there is no legal requirement.  For computer names, see 7.81.

Bufferin; buffered aspirin                                      Ping-Pong; table tennis

Coca-Cola                                                                   Pyrex; heat-resistant glassware

Jacuzzi; whirlpool bath                                           Scrabble

Kleenex; (facial) tissue                                             Vaseline; petroleum jelly

Levi’s; jeans                                                                 Xerox; photocopier


Registered trademarks may be found on the Web sites of the U.S Patent and Trademark office and the International Trademark Association.

8.163   Lowercase initial letter.  Brand names or names of companies that are spelled with a lowercase initial letter (eBay, iMac, etc.) pose a problem if they begin a sentence in normal prose.  Chicago recommends either capitalizing the first letter in that position or, better, recasting the sentence so that the name does not appear at the beginning.  Company or product names with an internal capital immediately following, and followed by a lowercase letter (“midcap”) should be left unchanged (WordPerfect, HarperCollins, , SmithKline Beacham).  See also 8.6.

From the The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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Physical and Chemical Terms

8.156   Overview. The following paragraphs offer only the most general guidelines for nontechnical editors. Writers or editors working in physics should consult The AIP Style Manual (bibliog. 1.1) or, among other journals, Physical Review Letters and Astrophysical Journal (both in bibliog. 5); those working in chemistry should consult ACS Style Guide (bibliog. 1.1).

8.157   Laws and theories. Names of laws, theories, and the like are lowercased, except for proper names attached to them.

Avogadro’s hypothesis

(Einstein’s) general of relativity                     Boyle’s Law

The big bang theory                                          Newton’s first law

Boyle’s law

8.158   Chemical names and symbols. Names of chemical elements and compounds are lowercased when written out. Symbols, however, are capitalized and set without periods; the number of atoms in a molecule appears as a subscript. For a list of symbols for the elements, see 15.70.

Sulfuric acid; H2SO4                                        tungsten carbide; WC

Sodium chloride; NaCl                                    ozone; O

8.159   Mass number. In formal chemical literature, the mass number appears as a superscript to the left of the symbol. In work intended for a general audience, however, it may follow the symbol after a hyphen, in full size.

           238U (formal style); U238 or uranium-238 (informal style)

             14C (formal style); C-14 or carbon-14 (informal style)

8.160   Radiations. Terms for electromagnetic radiations may be spelled as follows.

x-ray (noun, verb or adjective

β-ray (noun or adjective)

beta ray (in nonscientific contexts, noun or adjective

x-ray (noun or adjective)

gamma ray (in nonscientific contexts, noun or adjective)

cosmic ray (noun); cosmic-ray

ultraviolet rays (noun); ultraviolet-ray (adjective)

Note that the verb to x-ray, though acceptable in a general context, is not normally used in medical literature, where writers would more likely speak of obtaining an x-ray film, or a radiograph, of something. To irradiate refers to radiation therapy.

8.161   Metric units. Although the spellings, meter, liter, and so on are widely issued in the United States, some American business, government, or professional organizations have adopted European spellings (metre, litre, etc.) Chicago accepts either as long as consistency is maintained within a work. For abbreviations used in the International System of Units, see 15.58-64.

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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Proofreading on All Levels

A professional proofreader reads on many levels at the same time.

Spelling: Never assume. If there is any doubt, check Merriam-Webster. You might be surprised by what you find. Be sure to verify proper names and name-brand spellings.

Grammar: Do the subject and the verb agree? Are there run-on sentences or sentence fragments?

Punctuation: Comma or semicolon? Single or double quotation marks? Are the periods and commas at the end of quotations kept within the close quotation marks? Are em dashes and en dashes properly used? Should a single closing quote be used instead of a single opening quote?

Hyphenation: When to hyphenate (state-of-the-art software), and when not to hyphenate (wholly owned subsidiary).

Capitalization: When to capitalize (President Obama is on the phone) and when not to capitalize (The president is on the phone).

Consistency: Make sure your styles match throughout the document:

Serial lists (commas or semicolons at the end of each line):

and birds


Walk the dog;
Pet the cat; and
Feed the birds

Serial Comma:

Which to use throughout: Tom, Dick and Harry; or Tom, Dick, and Harry?


Are there spaces on both sides of an ellipses, or are there no spaces at all?

Em dashes and En dashes:

Are there spaces on both sides of the em or n dash, or are there no spaces at all?

Sense:  Are there repeated words (I am going to to the store) or are there omitted words (I am going the store)? Does the text make sense? Can you follow it? If the sense is unclear, then be sure to query the author to see if parts of the original sentence have been omitted.

In need of a proofreader? Get an estimate.

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Medical Terms

8.152   Overview. The following paragraphs offer only the most general guidelines. Medical writers or editors should consult the American Medical Association Manual of Style or Scientific Style and Format (both in bibliog. 1.1).

8.153   Diseases, procedures, and such. Names of diseases, syndromes, diagnostic procedure, anatomical parts, and the like are lowercased, except for proper names forming a part of the term. Acronyms and initialisms are capitalized.


acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS finger-nose test
Alzheimer disease (see below) Islets of Langerhans
computed tomography or CT non-Hodgkins lymphoma
Down syndrome (see below) ultrasound; ultrasonography

The possessive forms of Alzheimer’s, Down’s, Hodgkin’s, and the like, though rarely used in medical literature may be preferred in a general context. For x-rays and radiation, see 8.160.

8.154   Infections. Names of infectious organisms are treated like any other specific names (see 8.128-30). Names of conditions based on such names are neither italicized nor capitalized.

Microorganisms of the genus streptococcus are present in the blood of persons with streptococcal infection.

The larvae of Trichinella spiralis are responsible for the disease trichinosis.

8.155   Drugs. Generic names, which should be used wherever possible in preference to brand nanes, are lowercased. Brand names must be capitalized; they are often enclosed in parentheses after the first use of the generic name. For guidance, consult the American Medical Association Manual of Style and Scientific Style and Format (bibliog 1.1) and USP Dictionary of USAN and International Drug Names 9bibliog. 5) For brand names and trademarks, see 8.162.

The patient takes weekly injections of interferon beta-1a (Avonex) to control his multiple sclerosis.

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition


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Astronomical Terms

8.146               Overview. The following paragraphs offer only the most general guidelines. Writers or editors working in astronomy and astrophysics should consult Scientific Style and Format bibliog. 1.1) and the Astrophysical Journal (published by the University of Chicago Press; see bibliog .5).

8.147               Celestial Bodies. The names of galaxies, constellations, stars, planets, and such are capitalized. For earth, sun, and moon, see 8.149, 8.150.

Aldebaran                                                                        the Magellanic Clouds

Alpha Centauri or a Centauri                                       the North Star or the Pole Star

the Big Dipper or Ursa Major                                      85 Pegasus

or ‘the Great Bear                                                        Saturn

Cassiopeia’s Chair                                                         but

the Crab Nebula                                                             Halley’s Comet

the Milky Way                                                                the solar system

The Astrophysical Journal always capitalizes galaxy when it means the Milky Way; hence “the Galaxy”.or “our Galaxy.” In a nontechnical work, however, the word would be lowercased.

8.148               Catalog names. Celestial objects listed in well-known catalogs are designated by the catalog name, usually abbreviated, and a number.

NGC 6165           Bond 619             Lalande 5761                     Lynds 1251 or L1251

8.149               Earth. In nontechnical contexts the word earth, in the sense of our planet, is usually lowercased when preceded by the or in such idioms as “down to earth” or “move heaven and earth.” When used as the proper name of our planet, especially in context with other planets, it is capitalized and the usually omitted.

Some still believe the earth s flat.

The gender accorded to the moon, the sun, and the earth varies in different mythologies.

Where on earth have you been?

The astronauts have returned successfully to earth.

Mars, unlike Earth, has no atmosphere.

(The Astrophysical Journal always capitalizes Earth, whether or not preceded by the.)

8.150               Sun and moon. The words sun and moon are usually not lowercase in in nontechnical contexts and always lowercased in the plural.

The moon circles the earth, as the earth circles the sun

Some planets have several moons.

In specialized contexts these words may be capitalized.

Gravitational interaction between our Galaxy’s dark matter and the ordinary matter in Earth and the Moon might not fulfill the equivalence principle.

Solar neutrino experiments provide unique information about the interior of the Sun.


8.151               Descriptive terms. Merely descriptive names applied to celestial objects or phenomena are not capitalized.

aurora borealis or northern lights                                              the rings of Saturn

Gegenschein                                                                                  interstellar dust

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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Genetic Terms

8.139   Overview. Only the most basic guidelines can be offered here. Writers or editors working in the field of genetics should consult the American Medical Association Manual of Style or Scientific Style and Format both in bibliog 1.1) and online databases including the Human Gene Nomenclature Committee Database and the Mouse Genome Database (both in bibliog.5).

8.140   Genes. Names of genes, or gene symbols, including any Arabic numerals that form a part of such names are usually italicized. (They were originally italicized because they were only because they were only inferred to exist.) Gene names contain no Greek characters or roman numerals. Human gene symbols are set in full capitals, as are the genes for other primates. Mouse gene symbols are usually spelled with an initial capital; rat gene symbols are treated similarly. Gene nomenclature systems for other organisms (yeast, fruit flies, nematodes, plants, fish) vary. Protein names, also called gene products and often derived from the symbol of the corresponding genes, are set in roman.

Human genes




IGH@ (the symbol @ indicates a family or cluster)

Mouse genes





NLP3 (gene symbol); NLP3p (encoded protein; note p suffix)

GIF (gene symbol); GIF (gastric intrinsic factor

Only a very few gene names contain hyphens.

HLA-DRB1, for human leukocyte antigen D-related β chain 1

8.141   Enzymes. Enzyme names consist of a string of italic and roman characters. The first three letters, which represent the name of the organism (usually a bacterium) from which the enzyme has been isolated, are italicized. The roman letter that sometimes follows (see fifth example below) represents the strain of bacterium and the roman numeral represents the series number.

Aval                 BamHI             Clal                 EcoR               Hindlll

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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