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Which words in a title should be capitalized?

If I'm using an idiom in a title then should all the elements of the phrase be capitalized or just the ones that are usually in capitals?

For example, which of the following should be used?

be up and Running

be Up and Running

be Up And Running

marked as duplicate by simchona, aedia λ, kiamlaluno, Matt E. Эллен, waiwai933 Nov 15 '11 at 5:19

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  • A similar question I have had. I am writing a title, using title case. In the middle of it, is a phrase which is, itself, a title. That phrase begins with "the" perhaps, which would not normally be capitalized, unless it is the first word... should it be capitalized? Example: The Use of Metaphor in The Mouse That Roared Capiltalize "The" in the middle? – GEdgar Aug 28 '11 at 17:06

If you're using an idiom, then in formal writing none of the words should be capitalized beyond what standard grammar and punctuation (beginning of a sentence, proper names, etc) require.

In a title, which words are capitalized will depend on the stylistic concerns of your medium, but generally it will be: first word, last word, and main words, with secondary words (conjunctions less than five letters, prepositions, articles, etc) left uncapitalized.

Conjunctions of more than five words may be capitalized, and typically, in most professional publications, they are.

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    I think what's confusing me about this is that idioms only make sense as a unit, and thus it seems that the initial, "up", preposition should actually be capitalized in a title to indicate the boundary of the unit. – Ewan Heming Aug 28 '11 at 6:39
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    Up should be capitalized; it is one of the "main words" of the title. The "and", however, should not. So "Be Up and Running" would be the way to capitalize the phrase. That has nothing to do with the idiomatic nature of the expression, though; that's just standard titular capitalization. – Kyle Pearson Aug 28 '11 at 7:25
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    In the expression "Be Up and Running," up is not a preposition, and so should be capitalized. – Peter Shor Aug 28 '11 at 13:30

Idioms should be capitalised normally according to your usual style. If you normally capitalise a word, do so with the idiom too.

I would also capitalise the "be" too:

Be Up and Running

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