Capitalization of hyphenated words

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Zhuuu, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. Zhuuu New Member

    Canada / English
    Hi all. A quick question here. When capitalizing hyphenated words like "anti-inflammatory", what is the correct practice? Should both "A" and "I" be capitalized?

    And lastly, if only "A" should be capitalized when the word starts a sentence, should the "I" also be capitalized if the word is used in a title of an article where all first letters are upper case, e.g. "Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Hold Promise"?

  2. MonsieurAquilone Senior Member

    NZ - English
    when the words are not in capitals (representing an article etc.) it is not necessary to add any capitals. A publication would, however, have such words in capitals if it were a title. So you are right there. It is important to note that this is not the case and many people break this rule regardless.
  3. Zhuuu New Member

    Canada / English
    Thanks. So, if I were to use "anti-inflammatory" at the beginning of a sentence, do I only capitalize the "A" and not the "I"?
  4. TrentinaNE

    TrentinaNE Senior Member

    English (American)
    Anti-inflammatory, when starting a sentence, has a capital A and a lower-case i. The English Language Institute at the University of Delaware advises:
    Inn my view, "inflammatory" is as important as "anti," so I would capitalize both in a title. I don't know whether this practice is followed by all style manuals.

  5. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    If the first element is merely a prefx or combining form that could not stand by itself as a word (ant, pre, etc.), do not capitalize the second element unless it is a proper noun or proper adjective. The Chicago Manual of Style
    Anti-intellectual pursuits. Anti-inflammatory drugs.
  6. TrentinaNE

    TrentinaNE Senior Member

    English (American)
    Re titles, I see that The Chicago Manual of Style (section 7.128) also advises capitalizing the "subsequent elements" unless they are articles, pepositons, coordinating conjunctions, or musical modifiers like "flat." If the first element, however, is a prefix, then the second element is not capitalized unless it is a proper noun or adjective. Examples:
    • Twentieth-Century Literature
    • Out-of-Fashion Initiatives
    • E-flat Concerto
    • Strategies for Re-establishment
    • Anit-intellectual Pursuits
    From this source, I'd conclude that you should write Anti-inflammatory in your title.

  7. gogolsnose New Member

    English - US
    I disagree with the majority opinion here. If a phrase or sentence is in title case, it looks better to me to capitalize the second portion of almost any hyphenated term, and many sources seem to agree. American newspaper headlines generally follow this approach, if the newspaper uses title case at all, as in "Hints of an Alzheimer's Aid In Anti-Inflammatory Drugs" (New York Times, Nov 22, 2001) or "Blogger Wore Afro Wig to Fried-Chicken Tasting" (Village Voice, Oct 16, 2012). Interestingly, not many papers seem to use title case these days. For an alternative sort of example, there's the Spielberg film,"E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial."
  8. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    I agree with everyone here on what to do in text. As to headlines and titles, there is no universal rule; it depends on the style preferred by the chief editor of the publication. (I personally agree with others that capping the part following the hyphen looks better in such cases.)
  9. vendulka New Member

    I have a problem with "2-step verification".
    in normal text we use lowercase "2-step verification".
    In a product user interface, everything is capitalized (e.g. name of a tab). So, how should this go?

    • 2-Step Verification, or
    • 2-step Verification
    Thank you,
  10. jackulas New Member

    I would spell out the number and capitalize all words, i.e., 'Two-Step Verification' when using title case. Most style guides recommend spelling out numbers zero through nine unless they are part of a list including numbers 10 and above (for example, 'The athlete ran 8, 11, and 15 yards, respectively, during the three days.'


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