Wednesday, December 10, 2014


The title of my graduate student's essay is this:

Am I music to your ears?

Sweet title!  He even managed to remember the question mark.  He didn't remember the capital letters.

Capitalization is often a matter of preference, but some rules are well established.  Here's the word from The Oxford Guide to Canadian English Usage (considered the Canadian usage authority):

In the titles of books and works of art [which this essay is], the first and last word are capitalized . .  All internal words are also capitalized except coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor), articles (a, an, the), and prepositions of fewer than five letters.
So Am I music to your ears? should be

Am I Music to Your Ears?

The assignment asked students to ask two people: How do I listen to you?  Am I good listener?  Am I a caring, empathic listener (music to your ears) or a self-preoccupied, distracted listener?

More importantly, will they listen to me when I tell them how to write better (dammit).

Edit:  When a word in a title is hyphenated, should you capitalize both words?  There is no rule.  I have a preference for both words capitalized - but whatever you do is correct enough.  Look at your title.  Which is prettier?

Non-defensiveness -- Double Bonanza!
Non-Defensiveness -- Double Bonanza!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be posted after moderation.