What is sentence case?

Sentence case is a style of capitalization used by many of the popular style formats including Chicago, MLA, APA, and AP. It is a popular capitalization choice for newspapers and subheadings.

What Is Sentence Case and When Is It Used?

To use sentence case capitalization, you should only capitalize the first word of a sentence and any proper nouns. Our free title capitalization tool has the option for sentence case for each capitalization style so you can quickly format a title in sentence case.

Sentence case is the preferred headline capitalization style for many newspapers and online journals in the US and UK. It is sometimes referred to as “down style” and “reference style.” In fact, if you go to CNN.com right now, I bet you’ll see all of the headlines in sentence case.

Sentence case is also commonly used in subheadings for journals and articles. Title case is used for the main header and then sentence case is used for the smaller headings.

Examples of Sentence Case

Here are some examples of headlines that use sentence case:

  • Hurricane Hanna heads to Texas as two other storms threaten Hawaii and the Caribbean
  • Garmin hit with massive outage
  • How the Cold War created the world’s largest airplane

You can also see prominent usage of sentence case in CNN’s headlines on their homepage below. Every single one of their headlines only capitalizes the first letter in the sentence and any proper nouns or abbreviations:
Sentence Case On Cnn

Sentence Case vs. Title Case

Sentence case differs from the other major title capitalization style called title case. While sentence case requires only the first letter of a sentence to be capitalized apart from proper nouns and abbreviations/acronyms, title case requires most words in a headline to be capitalized with special rules to determine which words are lowercased depending on which style guide is used.

In general, headlines capitalized with title case follow these common rules:

  • Capitalize the first word in the title
  • Capitalize the last word in the title
  • Capitalize the important words in the title (such as adjectives, adverbs, nouns, pronouns, subordinating conjunctions, and verbs)

The Easiest Way to Sentence Case a Title

If you have a title or headline that’s in title case, we highly recommend using our free title capitalization tool. Just select “Sentence Case” and watch your title be automatically converted to sentence case.

Sentence Case On Capitalize My Title

Which Media Outlets Use Sentence Case?

As mentioned above, CNN uses sentence case for all of their headlines, but what about other media outlets? Here are 10 major media outlets and what style format they use for headlines.

Media Outlet/WebsiteCapitalization Case
CNNSentence case
BloombergTitle case
NY TimesTitle case
WikipediaTitle case
Fox NewsSentence case
HuffPostTitle case
WikiPediaTitle case
NPRTitle case
Associated PressSentence case
BBCSentence case

Using Sentence Case in Microsoft Office

Sentence case is available as a capitalization option in Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint. Just go to the “Home” tab and click on the “Change Case” option as in the screenshot below:


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