Grammatical Nazism on Title Capitalisation in Music

Here’s my coming out. I’m a grammar nazi! I’m not the best at it – English is only my second language -, but I can be irrationally rigid on mistakes made in text, and feel offended when people leave a few of them through. I’m also a fairly regular offender of my own rules, as I hate – HATE! – to read what I just wrote in order to find minute errors to correct. I don’t have the time nor concentration to do this, the first draft is almost always the final draft. What even is this introduction? It strayed way too far already. The subject at hands, today, is the rigour of bands and artists when it comes to grammar. I’ll point out a few regular and obvious mistakes, as well as a few examples, and, when possible, a few ways to avoid them.

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Title capitalisation is, I believe, the most common form of mistake I’ve seen: Between The Buried And Me, Bridge Across Forever, Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, and Sisters of… are all wrong! For the first one, it’s rather obvious that the and and should not be capitalized. They are an article and a conjunction, and they are never capitalized in titles! The correct writing would be: Between the Buried and Me. That doesn’t stop them from using BTBAM as an acronym, because the rules for acronyms are rather loose. Bridge Across Forever, the legendary album from Transatlantic, is technically correct as it is, as different styles opt for slightly different rules, but I prefer the Chicago Manual of Style one, as the others base theirs on the length of a word instead of its nature. Across is a preposition and, according to the rules, it shouldn’t be capitalized, but if you put in majuscule words that are five or more letters long, it will be capitalized. I think this five letters thing is dumb, and I’d write it Bridge across Forever. It still is a great album, though! Regarde Les Hommes Tomber is a French title, and I believe you should follow the rules of the language in which your name or title is. In this case, the French capitalisation rules are much easier than in English (surprised? me too). Basically, you only capitalize the first letter of the title, unless there are proper nouns or other titles in it. So, it’s really easy, and the correct version of this band’s name would be: Regarde les hommes tomber. The same applies to L’Enfant De La Forêt (L’enfant de la forêt), Finally, Sisters of… is also wrong! It’s a really simple rule, that one: the first and last words must be capitalized. Here, even if of is a preposition, therefore not capitalized, it must be because it is the last word of the title. Sisters Of… is correct. Just as a side note, there should always be a space following an ellipsis or period, if other words are present.

I’ll list a bunch of other culprits. Nono Cerchio for not following the Italian title capitalisation rules (similar to the French ones). Mgła for not writing futility with a majuscule letter on their latest album, and meek is murder for writing everything in minuscule to look nihilistic or something, and also for the lowercase is in “Everything is Awesome Nothing Matters”. Finally, as this article’s banner suggests, Dream Theater might be the biggest offender out there! They just seem to put capital letters in front of every word, completely disregarding the rules of style of the English language. How rude!

Here are some bands that got it right for one reason or another. Behold… The Arctopus because they capitalized the at the beginning of a sentence (after an ellipsis). Coheed and Cambria correctly put and in minuscule. VI‘s French and Latin song titles are all correct, but their album’s isn’t, and RORCAL writes almost all their album titles in all caps – therefore, no mistake.

Now, even if words like it or is sound minor, just like in or an, they must be put in majuscule because of their role in the sentence or title. This is also a common mistake.

Of course, artistic capitalisation is also acceptable, it is part of the style of the artist, and, thus, names like TesseracT and UneXpect are acceptable.

If you don’t want to deal with these silly English rules, just do as one of my teachers said and WRITE EVERYTHING IN CAPS LOCK. It’s perfectly acceptable, but it does give off a certain style, especially in metal music, that you might want to stay away from. You’re the judge of that. You could also use one or two-word titles; in that case, it’s easy: all words are capitalized! If you wonder how to capitalize a title, I recommend the website titlecapitalization.com. It will automatically capitalize your text based on the style you prefer, and it also gives you the set of rules to follow, if you’re interested. I use this very often!

Now go ahead and grammar-shame every capitalisation criminal you see!

On June 28 2016, this entry was posted.
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