Is You Capitalized in a Title?

Writing titles to publications, essays, articles and more can be fun but also confusing. Which words are capitalized and which words aren’t. “You” is one word that people most often are puzzled about.

Is You Capitalized?

Does one need to capitalize the word “you” when using it in a title? The answer is not black or white. In some writing style guides, the answer is yes, while in others, the answer is no.

There are three style manuals most often used in the United States: The Associated Press Stylebook, The Chicago Manual of Style and the Modern Language Association Style Book. The rules for capitalization, while similar, do not always agree between these three styles.

If you have the word “you” in a title, you must first determine which style guide is most appropriate for your article or story.

All three styles require that the first and last word of a title be capitalized. So, if “you” is either the first or last word of the title, it is always capitalized.

Here is where it gets tricky. All three style guides require that pronouns, such as “you,” be capitalized. However, the Associated Press and the Modern Language Association both rule that all words of less than five letters not be capitalized.

So, if you are using “you” in a title that follows either the Associated Press or Modern Language Association styles and it is not the first or the last word, then you do not capitalize it.

The exception is if you are following the Chicago Style Manual which requires you to capitalize “you” because it is a pronoun and that particular guide does not take into account the size of words for capitalization purposes.

However, some scholars will argue that the pronoun rule outweighs the letter count rule for any style, and they will argue in favor of capitalizing the word.

Your safest bet, in this case, is to move “you” to either the first or last word of the title, and then you will know that you will always be correct.

To learn more about proper title capitalization rules, give our free title capitalization tool a try.


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