Should one capitalize the word “is” when used in a proper title? This is a simple rule, and the answer is always yes. All verbs, words that depict action, should be capitalized in titles. This rule applies to the tiny word “is” which is a verb even though many think it is not.
This tiny word confuses even the most scholarly at times. Most likely this happens because “is” is a small word and does not necessarily sound like it is completing and action.
While “is” does not sound like it depicts action, it is actually a state of being verb, which implies existence, and existing is an action. Therefore, “is” should always be capitalized in titles.
Take, for instance, the sentence: The car is brown. In this sentence “is” is the verb as it is used in a “to be” sense. Accordingly, “the” is the article of the noun “car”, and “brown” is the adjective. Where this can get confusing is in sentences such as, “The brown car is turning.” In this case, it would seem that “turning” is the only verb, but “is” is used in the to be sense, so it is also a verb.
So, knowing the “is” is a verb, it must be capitalized in all titles. For example, if your title is, “Where Is My Hat,” the verb in the title is “is.” Therefore it gets capitalized.
Now, let’s say your title is a little longer: “The Hat Is Brown and Sits on the Shelf.” There are two verbs in this title, is and sits. Both words should be capitalized.
When in doubt about which words are verbs, simply remember that verbs typically follow the subject of the sentence and indicates action, emotion, or a state of being (to be).
Titles are tricky and leave many writers scratching their heads. In the case of “is” and other verbs, the easy rule is to always capitalize. We recommend that you use our handy title capitalization tool to make it easier.