Is there any good reason to use title case?

The convention followed by many British publishers (including scientific publishers, like Nature, magazines, like The Economist and New Scientist, and newspapers, like The Guardian and The Times) is the same used in other languages (e.g., French), namely to use sentence-style capitalization in titles and headlines, where capitalization follows the same rules that apply for sentences. This convention is sometimes called sentence case where a term is desired to clarify that title case shall not be applied. It is also widely used in the United States, especially in bibliographic references and library catalogues. Examples of global publishers whose English-language house styles prescribe sentence-case titles and headings include the International Organization for Standardization.


I’ve developed the habit of using sentence case for headlines, but now I’m facing a situation where I’m probably going to have to adapt to a new style guide and start using Title Case at work. I’ve developed a strong preference for sentence case, and now find title case to be ugly and tabloid-esque.

It seems likely to me that title case is a hangover from the days of more primitive typesetting, when you would need to distinguish between BIG HEADLINES, Important Headlines, and regular text.

In these days of HTML and CSS, is there really any good reason to use title case?


3 thoughts on “Is there any good reason to use title case?

  1. There’s no good reason for any stylistic preference in writing, other than conforming to a de facto standard, or where there is none, personal preference.Personally I have also drifted away from using title case in recent times. I do think it looks better for very short, punchy headlines though. Like three words. Especially when the first word is very short (I guess this points toward ‘balancing’ the weight of the headline being the reason). With longer headlines it can look very odd indeed.

  2. Balancing seems like a good reason, but I think it’s more important to be consistent. Unless you really don’t care how it looks, pick one and stick to it.

  3. Yeah it is probably better to stick to one method in any particular context. That seems a pretty good argument for using sentence case.

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