Portuguese word capitalization inside parentheses [STYLE-881]

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As mentioned on STYLE-881, Portuguese guidelines do not specify what to do with track titles that include parentheses. This leads to questions on titles like Você me vira a cabeça (Me tira do sério) which could be capitalized as “Você me vira a cabeça (Me tira do sério)” or as “Você me vira a cabeça (me tira do sério)”.

I’m not a Portuguese speaker, so I won’t claim to know how this should be done, but I generally like the option used in the Estonian guidelines for these cases:

The first word of an alternative title in parentheses should be capitalized
If the parentheses do not contain an alternative title, but a continuation of the preceding phrase, it shouldn’t be capitalized

So that would be my preferred choice if that makes sense in Portuguese (it does in Spanish, which is close, but) :slight_smile: But I’m hoping to see actual Portuguese speakers give their opinions here!


While Portuguese people are here, there’s also STYLE-493 proposing to move towards a more English style of uppercase for everything except prepositions and whatnot, as per the Portuguese Wikipedia, if that’s considered more appropriate.

Well, my opinion it’s that parentheses in titles should be used exceptionally to extra title information, using a comma or a colon to separate these parts of the title. :joy: :joy:

As I know that brackets are language graphical resource and it’s not possible to leave it exclusively for that, I believe that it’s acceptable following rules that we already applies to other languages.

I agree that the first letter of the first word should be capitalized inside of the parentheses. “Você me vira a cabeça” and “Me tira do sério” are two different sentences, it makes no sense to use the second example.

As for the new style proposition, I definetely prefer the Wikipedia guidelines, it’s what I use to tag brazilian songs on my library.

But in these cases, what’s in parentheses it’s also part of the title. Unless it was officially separated by a comma or colon, it shouldn’t be changed.

Hi @reosarevok! As a Portuguese speaker, I agree with what you’re suggesting for the use of parentheses (that is, first words of alternative titles capitalized; continuations of the preceding phrase uncapitalized).

As for the change in style, I’m not sure that consulting Portuguese speakers will help, seen that this is kind of controversial for us. In my experience, people largely prefer it the way Wikipedia does, with an “Englishized” style; however, formal guidelines like the ones issued by ABNT (Brazilian Association of Technical Standards) and such suggest that the correct way is the one used on Musicbrainz’ guidelines at the moment.

Personally, I agree with and support the way it is now.


where the two parts of a title are found within the lyrics of a song is relevant here.

so i agree with those who say:

a. if the two parts are continuous, then no capitalization’s needed, eg. “Sei lá (a vida tem sempre razão)” => https://www.letras.mus.br/toquinho/87372/; and

b. if the two parts are not, (if they’re alternate titles; or they come from different parts of the song’s lyrics; or (though rarely) they’re separated by a period) then the first letter of the part in parenthesis should be capitalized.

this principle is simpler to apply when titles in a language are supposed to be in sentence case, as no other special capitalization rules apply aside from that for proper nouns.


Hi @librious.

Yes, it was more like a joke. :relaxed:

I was just saying it because it makes easier to auto-parse extra title informations.

I believe it has been exhaustively discussed by community, so I’m just kidding.

I also understand that using parentheses it’s more like a graphical decision.

The same song has different names, based on this decision:
‘Sei lá, a vida tem sempre razão’ (https://musicbrainz.org/recording/ff97cf46-d505-4824-93cc-ad9f3bf1e448)
‘Sei lá “a vida tem sempre razão”’ (https://musicbrainz.org/recording/86498d63-474c-4b68-b538-df2710593c14)
‘Sei lá… a vida tem sempre razão’ (https://musicbrainz.org/recording/4a008527-fce9-4e0d-a086-c8e9634bf9a0)

‘Rubão’, ‘Rubão (o dono do mundo)’, ‘Rubão, o dono do mundo’, ‘Rubão: O dono do mundo’ (https://musicbrainz.org/recording/fe823634-865f-4876-90d2-7952f5200ce4)

‘Papo reto (Prazer é sexo, o resto é negocio)’, ‘Papo reto: Prazer é sexo o resto é negócio’ (https://musicbrainz.org/recording/2c86fcf7-cb1e-46fa-b03e-f447195bac84)

Only to cite some examples.

As I said, it’s not something that I wanna change, and my request [STYLE-881] focus it’s only to standardize about using parentheses and the capitalization. :wink:


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I like fmera’s approach.


Can someone translate this into Portuguese so I can update the guideline?

The first word of an alternative title in parentheses should be capitalized. If the parentheses do not contain an alternative title, but a continuation of the preceding phrase, it shouldn’t be capitalized.

Also, does anyone mind if I remove the guess case bit? Using guess case will lowercase proper nouns, so it really isn’t a fireproof method to follow this by any means…

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If we follow what @fmera said, like English: https://musicbrainz.org/doc/Style/Language/English#Parts_of_titles_inside_parentheses

We could not restrict it to parentheses, see: “Bring Your Daughter… to the Slaughter” or “Sei lá… a vida tem sempre razão”

So, if it is correct, we could be more generic, something like:

Any separated alternative title should have the first word capitalized. Otherwise …

About it: https://musicbrainz.org/edit/49526130#note-49526130-11

*For sure we must remove the text about the “Sentence Mode/Guess Case”.

I think the idea there was that without the parentheses, that was assumed to be the case already - but I’m happy to get some wording that is more generic as long as it’s clear it applies to parentheses as well :slight_smile:

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Just a reminder to our Portuguese users I can’t close this without Portuguese wording!

A primeira palavra de um título alternativo entre parênteses deve ser escrita com inicial maiúscula. Se os parênteses não contêm um título alternativo, mas uma continuação da frase anterior, neste, não se deve utilizar inicial maiúscula.


Changed it a tiny bit to fit the format of the current guideline, please let me know if I messed the Portuguese up! https://wiki.musicbrainz.org/Style/Language/Portuguese

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Hijacking this to ask all our Portuguese speakers whether someone can help me with a support issue - the person seems to only speak Portuguese and not understand MB at all.