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Assume I have written a book and want to name it:

The Joy of Not Being Stupid

Would the "not" be capitalized?

marked as duplicate by Hellion, andy256, 200_success, Mari-Lou A, tchrist Dec 10 '14 at 13:50

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  • I am not asking for the general rules (which I can look up) but for what to do in this specific case, where not reading over the negation is essential. – user32638 Dec 9 '14 at 17:22
  • 1
    Not all general rules are irrelevant for specific cases. – pfff Dec 9 '14 at 18:03
  • If you don't want readers to miss the negating word, then name it The Joy of Not Being Stupid. A publisher may have quibbles with it, or it may be titled in a way that otherwise makes the not stand out, such as writing not in a different ink color. – pazzo Dec 9 '14 at 18:30
  • Not is definitely an important word. Have you ever written something down and mistakenly omitted the not? Oh, the regrets! – Octopus Dec 10 '14 at 0:58
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Blue book of grammar and punctuation: The following rules for capitalizing composition titles are universal.

•Capitalize the title's first and last word. •Capitalize verbs, including all forms of the verb to be (is, are, was, etc.). •Capitalize all pronouns, including it, he, who, that, etc.

•Capitalize the not.

Do not capitalize a, an, or the unless it is first or last in the title. •Do not capitalize the word and, or, or nor unless it is first or last in the title. •Do not capitalize the word to, with or without an infinitive, unless it is first or last in the title.

  • Is there an example of a title with a, an or the as the last word and where it is still just an article? I can think of the band name The The, but that is no longer an article, is it? Or even to at the end? – Octopus Dec 10 '14 at 0:54

Capitalizing Words in Titles

From Basic Book Design- Wikibooks.

These rules are adapted from The Chicago Manual of Style.

  1. The first and last words are always capitalized, even if fewer than five letters.

  2. Words over five letters are always capitalized.

  3. Verbs are always capitalized, even if fewer than five letters.

  4. Nouns are always capitalized, even if fewer than five letters.

  5. Unless the first or last words of a title, these are never capitalized: articles: a, an, the; conjunctions: and, but, or, nor; prepositions that are fewer than five letters long: at, by, for, from, in, into, of, off, on, onto, out, over (unless used as a verb), up, with; infinitives: to; "as" is never capitalized; o'Clock (since it means "of the clock")

  6. These words are capitalized, even though they are fewer than five letters: also, be, if, than, that, thus, when.

    This explanation is not intended to be exhaustive. 
    

Another reference: The Major Words In The Titles Of Books, Articles, And Songs

  • I cannot deduce from this wether or not I need to capitalize the "not". – user32638 Dec 9 '14 at 17:16
  • Sorry, don't know who downvoted. Voting up. Thanks for your help :-) – user32638 Dec 9 '14 at 17:37
  • I can understand the downvote and will add mine if the relevant portion of the relevant quote isn't substituted. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 10 '14 at 0:21
  • @EdwinAshworth, thanks!, goofed up,concede,comment deleted. – Mysti Dec 10 '14 at 12:42