1. Capitalization in Titles. You should always capitalize the first and last words of a title, as well as all nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Articles (the, a, an), conjunctions (and, or, for, etc), and prepositions (to, from, etc) aren’t capitalized unless they’re the first or last word. I prefer to capitalize prepositions that are five letters or longer, like “away,” but you don’t have to.
The word “is” should be capitalized in titles. I see this mistake all the time; I think people lump “is” into the same categories as prepositions like “in.” It may be short, but it’s a verb.
Examples: Tender Is the Night; The Taming of the Shrew; A Wrinkle in Time; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
2. Compound Adjectives. Compound adjectives (like half-blood in the example above) should be hyphenated when they come before the word they modify. A compound adjective is a phrase in which one adjective modifies a second, which, in turn, modifies a noun.
Examples: half-blood prince, part-time secretary, foot-long sandwich
If you’re not sure whether you’re dealing with a compound adjective, try splitting the phrase up and saying each adjective with the noun in turn. The phrases “part secretary” and “time secretary” don’t make any sense; therefore, “part-time” is a compound adjective. Note that an adverb/adjective pair does not get an hyphen, i.e. “previously viewed.”
Also, note that the compound adjective only gets a hyphen when it comes before the word it modifies. Example: “The half-full glass” vs. “The glass was half full.”
3. Finding Your Center. Okay, this is unlikely to rock the Earth to its core, but it’s “center on” or “revolve around.” The phrase “center around” is just silly. A center is a single, mathematical point. You can’t go around a point because it only exists in one dimension.
Examples: “The news report centered on the meteoric rise of college tuition.” “Her argument revolved around the idea that women are intrinsically more nurturing than men.”
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Well, that’s it for today. I hope you found these tips helpful. I’ll be back on Friday with a longer post about Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.