Style guide conflicting statements?

This album has a track entitled Tell Me What You Want (And I’ll Give You What You Need).

Trying to decide on proper capitalization of ‘And,’ I’m struggling with what appear to be conflicting statements in the English style guide.

The first leads me to think ‘And’ should be capitalized:

All words in a title should have their first letter capitalized and following letters lower case except as noted below:

  • (1) Always capitalize the first and last word of a title. This rule should be followed even if the words would normally be lowercase according to the other rules. If a title is broken up by major punctuation (colon according to subtitle style, question mark, exclamation mark, em-dash, parentheses, or quotes), capitalize each distinct piece of the title as if it were a distinct title. Therefore, for example, always capitalize the first and last words of each section.

and this seems to say it should not:

Parts of titles inside parentheses

Those are mostly capitalized as if the parentheses do not exist

Am I missing something, or is this indeed a conflict?

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Ach, you didn’t copy paste text: it’s hardly readable on mobile and I can’t quote. :sweat_smile:

This title is not as if different titles, so the first screenshot does not apply.
It’s as part of the same title, so the second screenshot applies.

And I’ll Give You What You Need, is not quite like a full title, not like a second title.
It’s more like the end of the title:

Tell Me What You Want (and I’ll Give You What You Need)

You don’t think so?

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I agree with that statement, but I don’t see any indication that the first guideline is applying to different, or second, titles. I think “…broken up by major punctuation…” directly applies, and therefore conflicts with the second guideline.


Fixed that for you. Sorry.

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Ah I see.

Parts of titles inside parentheses is very clear on what to do with titles and parentheses, the two cases where it must be seen as one title or where it must be seen as two titles.

As it comes after rule 1, my mind treats it as a more specific rule, that trumps rule 1.

You would like that the reference to parentheses would be removed from rule 1?
Maybe it should be good, yes.

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I can see how it could be read as the latter statement superseding the former. I didn’t see it that way. To me it seems that they are organized as different (but equal) statements within the overall topic.

That would eliminate the conflict, and I believe it would be consistent with the typical grammar guides (Chicago Manual of Style, for instance).

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The main point here is whether you have two or one titles. “A Song (A Parody)” is two titles, while “A Song (and a Very Good One at That)” is not. I don’t think it would make things less clear to remove “parentheses” from rule 1 though, so maybe we should just do that :slight_smile:


Actually, the main point I’m trying to make is that both rules, as written, apply to the same title (a single title with parentheses), but pose contradictory instructions.

Fair enough. Removed ‘, parentheses’ from the list on point 1.