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Which one should I use for page title?

  1. Apple — Tasty Fruit
  2. Apple — A Tasty Fruit
  3. Apple — The Tasty Fruit

The article is only about tasty apple.

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2  
I usually see subtitles written with colons instead of a dash. –  Lie Ryan Feb 25 '13 at 8:44
    
The part about capitalization is a clear duplicate of many, many questions on this site, some of which are linked to automatically on the right-hand side of this very page. I have removed that bit from the question. The canonical question "Which words in a title should be capitalized?" is among the first 10 questions ever asked on this site, and among the all-time top 20 in the FAQ tab. In the future, please search the site before posting. And on a more general note, always share your research. –  RegDwigнt Feb 25 '13 at 17:02
    
If the point here is that some apples (such as the ill-named Red Delicious) are not tasty and therefore will not be discussed in the article, you might be better off with a title that narrows the focus of the article appropriately. For example: "Beyond Delicious: Truly Tasty Apples." –  Sven Yargs Feb 25 '13 at 21:44

3 Answers 3

[Updated after checking with this page. (Thanks, J.R. Have you not shown me the link, I wouldn't have known about it)]

If you want to emphasize that apple is delicious and in a way unique, it would be more appropriate to use the definite article, the.

the

used to indicate that someone or something is the best known or most important of that name or type: he was the hot young piano prospect in jazz.

So I would go with option 4.

Apple - The Tasty Fruit

However, if you are not planning to emphasize too much about apple being a tasty fruit, you should use the indefinite article, a.

Apple - A Tasty Fruit

It would make apple sound less special in terms of being tasty.

When it comes to capitalizing words in titles, I would follow the capitalization rules and not capitalize prepositions, articles and conjunctions unless they are at the start or the end of the title, or they consist of more than four letters. In this case, the noun phrase after the dash plays the role of a subtitle, as suggested by J.R. and Lie Ryan, and therefore the first word has to be capitalized, regardless of whether it is an article.

Note: Some sources may agree on the capitalization of prepositions. But I personally don't.


[Suggestion]

You can consider replacing the dash with a comma.

Apple, the Tasty Fruit

Apple is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, most widely known for being extremely tasty. Apples grow on small, delicious trees. The tree originated in Western Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still pretty delicious today. Apples have been very delicious for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, and were brought to North America by European colonists who are passionate about delicious fruits. In 2010, the fruit's yummy genome was decoded, leading to new understandings of taste in fruit production.

[an extract from a Wikipeida article that has been modified]

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2  
As I mention in another comment, I think one might capitalize the article in this case, because it's the first word of the subtitle. We'd be in complete agreement if the title was The Apple Is a Tasty Fruit, but the introduction of the dash (i.e., the subtitle) adds a wrinkle to the issue. (I agree with your convention if the comma is used, though.) –  J.R. Feb 25 '13 at 10:42
    
@J.R. It is rare to see a title with a dash so at first I wasn't aware that it can have the same function as a colon that is used for introducing a subtitle. If the dash serves just like a colon, then I agree that the first word in the subtitle should be capitalized. –  0a -archy Feb 25 '13 at 10:57
3  
Personally I don't find apple trees delicious at all. –  Max Feb 25 '13 at 10:59
1  
You should stop insisting on using a colon instead of a dash. See this guide: "The first letter of a title and subtitle should be capitalised. A subtitle should be separated using a colon or em dash." –  J.R. Feb 25 '13 at 11:40
    
@J.R. Thanks for the link! Now I've come to a realization that a dash does function as a colon in a title. –  0a -archy Feb 25 '13 at 11:56

Subtitles are usually separated by colons, and subtitles that start with "a", "an", or "the" is usually capitalized (as exemplified on here). Thus, we are left with three choices:

Apple: Tasty Fruit
Apple: A Tasty Fruit
Apple: The Tasty Fruit

Which one you choose depends on what you want to emphasize and on your own "taste" (both linguistic and gustatory). Using the article "a" implies that apple is a tasty fruit, but not necessarily "the" only tasty fruit nor "the" most tasty fruit. That's the reason why I would avoid "Apple: The Tasty Fruit", though you might want to use the article "the" if you want to put an extra emphasis on the tastiness of apples.

The zero articles (i.e., using no articles) are usually used for plurals and mass nouns in normal text. I see no reasons why the rule would be different for titles. Therefore, if using zero articles, it should be "Apple: Tasty Fruits" or "Apples: Tasty Fruits".

In this particular case, I'd choose between either "Apple: A Tasty Fruit" or "Apple: Tasty Fruits".

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Thank you very much! I like your answer most of all, it makes the title very compact. –  Marvin3 Feb 25 '13 at 9:45
2  
I agree with this. I think both sides of the colon (or dash) should employ Title Case, and therefore the article should be capitalized because it's the first word to the right of the punctuation. Not necessarily every word would be capitalized, though; e.g., I'd use: Apple – The Tastiest Fruit of Them All, or: Apple – The Tastiest Fruit in the Land. –  J.R. Feb 25 '13 at 10:36

Of your options, 1, 2 and 4 work as they have consistent capitalisation, however you might be better off using

Apple - a tasty fruit

Or

Apple - the tasty fruit

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