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Bibliographic Citations using MLA Style 7th edition (2009): Which Words Are Capitalized?

This is a guide to citing print and online materials using the current 2009 MLA style.

Capitalization

One of the hardest parts of MLA Citation Style is figuring out which words in a title or journal name are capitalized. The MLA Style Manual is not very helpful on this except to say "Capitalize the most important words". Here is the "official*" list (*well, which I researched as best I could) of which words are NOT capitalized. If it is not on this list, capitalize the word.

Note that there are 4 exceptions:

  • when one of these words starts a title.
  • when one of these words ends a title.
  • when one of these words comes after a colon, as in a subtitle.
  • finally, when a quotation is part of a title, follow the capitalization used in the quote:

Stasiak, Lauren. "'When you kiss me, I want to die': Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gothic Family Values." Goth: Undead Subculture. Ed. Lauren M. E. Goodlad and Michael Bibby. Durham: Duke UP, 2007. 307-15. Print.

  • a
  • aboard
  • about
  • above
  • absent
  • across
  • after
  • against
  • along
  • alongside
  • amid
  • amidst
  • among
  • amongst
  • an
  • and
  • around
  • as
  • aslant
  • astride
  • at
  • athwart
  • atop
  • barring
  • before
  • behind
  • below
  • beneath
  • beside
  • besides
  • between
  • beyond
  • but
  • by
  • despite
  • down
  • during
  • except
  • failing
  • following
  • for
  • for
  • from
  • in
  • inside
  • into
  • like
  • mid
  • minus
  • near
  • next
  • nor
  • notwithstanding
  • of
  • off
  • on
  • onto
  • opposite
  • or
  • out
  • outside
  • over
  • past
  • per
  • plus
  • regarding
  • round
  • save
  • since
  • so
  • than
  • the
  • through
  • throughout
  • till
  • times
  • to
  • toward
  • towards
  • under
  • underneath
  • unlike
  • until
  • up
  • upon
  • via
  • vs.
  • when
  • with
  • within
  • without
  • worth
  • yet

 

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