I understand that capitalization "rules," aside from capitalizing the beginning of a sentence and so forth, are less steadfast rules and are more (somewhat arbitrary in my opinion) style guidelines that differ across established styles, etc.

But so my question has to do with the "you are here" marker found in maps occasionally. Is there an established or preferred way to capitalize this phrase? When I google maps with this marker, I can't find any preference for this.

Some capitalize it like, "You are here," like this map: enter image description here

Some capitalize it like, "You Are Here," like this map: enter image description here

And then a lot of google results have all letters capitalized, seemingly in order to avoid the issue altogether.

I also found this picture, which while not a proper map is still a way of capitalizing I did not consider until I saw it, "You are Here." enter image description here

I ask this question because I am checking the translation of a map and the capitalization style seems inconsistent on the legend, i.e. it starts capitalizing every word since there are like titles/items but then it only capitalizes the first word of each item. But then it has the icon for "you are here" in the legend too and for some reason my gut tells me that should stay as "You are here" as it is currently rendered, but now I'm confused if that will make it weird if the other words are all capitalized.

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    Capitalisation can be used for emphasis. In the first picture, "You" is not only capitalised, it is graphically made distinct from the "are here" to give it even more emphasis. In the third picture, the capitalisation on Here helps to emphasise the location within the huge expanse of the galaxy. The Disney map bugs me, but that's probably a case where every single word is capitalised with no exceptions. So I would say, look at your map and go with your gut. Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 8:53

1 Answer 1


Summary: "You are here" is fine, if the rest of the legend follows this same capitalization scheme.

More generally, though capitalization is a stylistic issue, I do not know of any style guides that specifically address maps. As a general rule, there are two schemas for capitalization:

  1. Title case: capitalize the first word and each subsequent major word in the title. The decision of which words are major is a stylistic choice. Generally, the only non-major words are short and common. Different style guides have different rules; some list parts of speech that qualify as major words, others have a requirement for length.

  2. Sentence case: capitalize only the first word.

For your legend entry, title case would be rendered as "You are Here" or "You Are Here" depending on whether are is a major word. Sentence case would be rendered as "You are here". Thus, all three of the options you propose are correct according to some stylistic guidelines.

Sometimes, title and sentence case are mixed. For example, in APA style, high level titles and headings are rendered in title case, but low level headings are rendered in sentence case. I would consider legend entries "low level", so this is one rational to use sentence case.

As with most stylistic choices, consistency is very important. Pick a concrete capitalization scheme and apply it to each entry of the legend.

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