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.

  • 2
    I usually see subtitles written with colons instead of a dash.
    – Lie Ryan
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 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
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 17:02
  • 1
    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
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 21:44
  • The OP is not asking about capitalization or punctuation. It seems the OP is asking about definite v. indefinite articles.
    – Stu W
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 14:07
  • Right, and the OP omitted any article or plural in the word apple in a title. What's up with that? Then, everyone just repeated apple in the singular in their advice. Frankly, I find that astounding.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 16:54

4 Answers 4


[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.


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.


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]

  • 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.
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 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. Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 10:57
  • 4
    Personally I don't find apple trees delicious at all.
    – Max
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 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.
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 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. Commented Feb 25, 2013 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".

  • Thank you very much! I like your answer most of all, it makes the title very compact.
    – Marvin3
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 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.
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 10:36
  • I disagree with all the examples.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 13:51
  • The Tastiest Fruit of All, but never just Apple out front. No writer would ever do that in English. I'm sorry but really.....
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 16:55
  • Love: or Love-The Greatest of All [Whatever], uncountable. There yes. No article or s.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 16:56

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

Apple - a tasty fruit


Apple - the tasty fruit


Here are the ways one can say this, be grammatical in English and sound like this is actual professional writing, either creative or not:

1) The Apple: A Tasty Fruit

[One moves from /the/ to /a/ in the title. The apple (a singular object) is a tasty fruit. That is, there are other tasty fruits.

2) Apples: Tasty Fruit.

[One moves from the plural and one keeps the plural. Cars Are Great Machines]. However, if using the plural, the are may be kept. Apples Are Tasty Fruit. Cars Are Great Machines. In the singular, it's not as elegant: The Apple Is a Tasty Fruit. The Apple: A Tasty Fruit is more elegant.

Here is the rule of thumb for 1): When discussing a general category of countable objects, there are two possibilities. One can start with The Apple in a title and in the text, the next time the word apple is used as that same general category, one would use either an apple or apples. For example

A) "The apple is a wonderful food. And I always keep an apple in my briefcase." Or B) The apple is a wonderful food. And I always keep apples on my desk."

Here is the rule of thumb for 2): When discussing a general category of countable noun, one can start with the plural Apples in a title and in the text, one moves from apples to an apple or apples. For example: Apples are wonderful food.

That said, no general title in an article would ever use just the singular as given in the question: Apple: [etc]. It has to be: Apples or The Apple. And not Apple: [etc.]. Main words are capitalized, articles are not.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.