Is it appropriate to capitalise the "a" in the title of an article, journal, thesis and so on?

I have seen both cases where "a" is capitlised and uncapitlised. I am using British English if this makes any difference at all.

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    If it's the first word, yes. Otherwise, not usually. But it depends on your style guide. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 30 '16 at 20:47
  • @JanusBahsJacquet ah so there is no actual right or wrong way, and it is purely stylistic? Personally I think it, for some reason, looks better with a capitalised "a". – QuantumPenguin Nov 30 '16 at 20:49
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    It is purely a matter of style, yes. There is no universal right or wrong about anything in English, since English has no governing body—only more or less agreed-upon conventions. The only governing bodies are style guides, which are used almost exclusively in academic, journalist, or official writing. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 30 '16 at 20:53
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    Online tool: capitalizemytitle.com supports different rules. – AllInOne Nov 30 '16 at 22:37
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    English has no governing body, but there are customs in different dialects. Certainly in British English, A Room with a View would not have the second indefinite article (or its prepositions, or conjunctions if there were any) capitalised. – Andrew Leach Nov 30 '16 at 22:39

If it's the first word, then of course.

Otherwise there are two common styles. With the most common, one wouldn't capitalise it, but the style of capitalising every single word also exists, especially when the style is applied by software rather than people.

As such I'd advise against capitalising it, but also as against arguing dogmatically against those who do.

  • 4
    I cannot conceive of anyone capitalising such a minor part of speech, especially the single letter "a". "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" looks quite ridiculous to me. In my view it would almost always be written, in titular form as "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" - at least that would be the case in Britain.. – WS2 Nov 30 '16 at 21:53
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    @WS2 and yet… movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/115/MPW-57810 (It's worth considering in this case that even if the poster designer had agreed with us generally on not capitalising articles they might still have opted to do so as artistic license because of the effect it has on the vertical space of the title when that line has only one capital; titles such as these are both textual and graphical elements at the same time, and the capitalisation decision may have been more for the graphical effect than the textual). – Jon Hanna Dec 1 '16 at 13:39
  • Good point, and a good find. +1. – WS2 Dec 1 '16 at 16:27

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