How should Capitalizing for example "Exit Music (for a Film)"? Usually in a title the parenthetical phrase serves as subtitle, but in this case it is evidently a continuation, accordingly "for" should be capitalized or not?


  • 2
    That example is from a music album, and the rules tend to go out the window when it comes to album covers. Also, that example is not a valid sentence, so trying to apply grammar rules to it is going to be tricky. – Arkanon Feb 22 '14 at 16:35
  • What would make "for" capitalized depending on whether it was a subtitle or not? And what makes a parenthetical phrase a subtitle rather than a continuation of the main title? Capitalization of titles depends entirely on the style to which you wish to adhere. – nxx Feb 25 '14 at 1:47

Mixing of formats (parenthesis within a title here - which I'd say is very unusual) can lead to a conflict of 'accepted rules' (for which one should almost always read guidelines). Would

Film Exit Music

not work?

There seems to be generally far greater freedom allowed for assembling and punctuating strings within parentheses than for the matrix sentence (or here, matrix sentence-substitute). I've never seen a 'rule' demanding that one must not capitalise the same way as one does in the non-parenthetical material, so I'd not say that your punctuation is wrong. For such a peripheral question, it's unlikely you'll find a single style guide giving any guidance. If you by some miracle find two, the odds are they'll disagree. I do find this five-word title clumsy, however.

Since it's relevant, I'll point out that, in your first line, 'capitalizing' should not be capitalised. That string is also ungrammatical.

  • If "Exit Music (for a Film)" works better than "Film Exit Music" — and I think it does — you should not let the question of how to capitalize it keep you from using it. – Peter Shor Feb 22 '14 at 20:33

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