Capitalize This!

Contributor: Jennifer Blanchard. Lesson ID: 13662

Capital letters and titles -- you learned about them back in elementary school. You have learned so much else since then, so sometimes it's helpful to do a little brushing up!


Grammar, Reading

English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

  • Have you ever second-guessed whether you actually knew something or not?

You learned something so long ago, or you've learned so many other similar things, that you start to wonder if you actually remember it correctly!

Or maybe there is just more that you have yet to learn about that topic: more rules, more expectations, and more uses as the rest of the content you are learning becomes increasingly rigorous.

If this has happened to you, you are not the only one!

The television show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? was popular for this very reason!

Let's try our own version with this question:

  • Which country is both an island and a continent?

Keep reading to see if you are, in fact, smarter than a 5th grader!

  • Could you relate to the feeling of sometimes forgetting the specifics of information that you learned a long time ago?

I sure can!

And the answer to our Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? question is: Australia! Australia is a country that is both a continent and an island.

  • Did you get it right?


Okay, let's jump right in and refresh our knowledge of capitalizing titles so we are all up to date with remembering all we need to know about this topic!

First things first, capitalizing means you start a word with an uppercase letter.

Titles refer to the titles of books, movies, songs, and other works.

  • What else has a title?

Hmm, did you say....

  • chapter
  • poem
  • essay
  • picture
  • statue
  • play
  • television show

So, we know we need to capitalize the names of titles, but let's take it a step further. Titles can have more than one word in them. Not ALL words in titles are actually capitalized.

Here is what you SHOULD capitalize in titles:

  • the first word
  • the last word
  • nouns
  • pronouns
  • verbs
  • adjectives
  • adverbs

Here's what you SHOULDN'T capitalize in titles (UNLESS they're the first or last word):

  • prepositions (including the word to)
  • articles
  • conjunctions

Here are some examples of titles that are properly capitalized:

  • The Cat in the Hat
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Little House on the Prairie
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Poky Little Puppy
  • War and Peace
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

These same rules apply to subtitles.

Subtitles are like a smaller title, or the second part of the title to give even more detail. They usually come after a colon punctuation mark.

Here are some examples of titles with subtitles:

  • The Assassin's Cloak: An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarists
  • Orlando: A Biography

Take notice how the first word in the subtitle is also capitalized, even though it was an article in both examples above.

  • Got all that?
  • You do?

Prove it in the Got It? section!

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