For optimal viewing on a mobile device, tilt your device to landscape mode.

5 Tips for Major and Minor Works From Language Lady

#1

 

Teach That Capitalization Is the Same for Both of Them

There are no differences in the capitalization between the two types of works, so I like to start out teaching the commonalities–they are both capitalized the same way. Since Major Works and Minor Works are all TITLES, their capitalization is the same. 

Keep in mind when teaching capitalization of proper nouns in general that this is an extremely subjective usage area. Some protocols focus on word type (i.e. never capitalize a preposition within a title {not including the first and last words of a title, which are always capitalized}) while others focus on aesthetics (word length determines the capping or not capping). 

#2

 

Capitalization Is Subjective (Shocking, huh?)

I teach students a “this looks nice” approach (aesthetically-pleasing) to capitalization that is adopted by APA and other authorities. This is also called Title Case, and it is used for Major and Minor Works as well as many headers, footers, and more. I prefer this method over “no capping prepositions” that others may utilize because longer prepositions (throughout, during, within, etc.) are capped in this protocol–and this makes titles look much nicer. 

Aesthetically-approaching capitalization of Major and Minor Works will often result in these capitalization rules: (1) Always capitalize the first word and last word in any title; (2) Capitalize internal words of a title if the word-in-question is four letters or longer (regardless of word type); (3) Capitalize words that are three letters or fewer if they are important to the title (so not short prepositions,  coordinating conjunctions, or pronouns and not any articles {noun markers} but yes capitalize all adverbs, adjectives, nouns, verbs, and long prepositions). 

#3

 

Work Extensively With Samples When Teaching Capitalization of Major and Minor Works

I use a Teach-Practice-Apply method in all of my books. This means that I TEACH (using models and samples and students and I interacting with them with highlighters) then I have students PRACTICE with similar sentences and examples to those I taught with. Finally, they APPLY it. This is done primarily through the papers that students write for me each week. (My books have lessons built into the books for whatever skills they will need in order to write the writing assignment. Thus, I teach Major Works and Minor Works during research report weeks.)

Try to have all of the rules and exceptions in the samples you are using:
    ~”Home on the Range” (no capping on or the internally)
    ~The Intermittent Fasting Journal (cap all, including the at the beginning–all first and last words)
    ~Write On, Mowgli! (cap all, including ON since it is important to the title and is an adverb)
    ~The Write Right Quick Kit (cap all, including three letter words that are first and last words of a title)

#4

 

Start With Major Works–Titles of Books, Movies, Magazines, and More

I always start with what kids already know–they know that major is big and minor is small. However, be careful that they don’t think it means SIZE of the work (a cd is small but is a major work). I then tell them that they need to learn to differentiate between Major and Minor Works because of how they are punctuated–Major Works are italicized when keyed/typed and underlined when written by hand. Minor Works are in quotation marks. 

In starting with Major Works, I tell them that the size of the work doesn’t matter. It is MAJOR if it has something smaller within it. That makes it MAJOR:
    Book: Meaningful Composition  (has chapters in it)
    Encyclopedia: World Book (has essays in it)
    Magazines: Simplicity (has articles in it)
    Movies/Plays: Toy Story 3 (has scenes/acts in it) 
    CDs/Songbooks: American Songbook (has songs in it)
    Website or blog: Character Ink Blog (super subjective–some protocols say cap but no other emphasis)

#5

 

Then Move to Minor Works–Titles of Chapters, Scenes, Articles, Essays, and More

If they hear me say it once, they hear me say it a dozen times: Minor Works are minor because they are INSIDE Major Works. So if they wonder if something is Major, I have them ask themselves if it has anything smaller within it. If they wonder if something is Minor, I have them ask themselves if it is found inside something else. This is a fairly fool-proof test for distinguishing between the two. Another common problem with Minor Works is the “single quote” issue. Somehow it has become common thinking to consider using single quotes (‘  ‘) for “smaller uses”–sarcasm, special words, short quotes, and minor works. I nip this in the bud by reminding students that nobody does single “air quotes.” That is because single quotes are NEVER used by themselves. They are only used inside a double quoted sentence. Double quotes (”  “) are used 95% of the time. Don’t use single quotes for Minor Works. 

If the work is inside something, it is probably Minor: 
     Chapters of Books: “Comma Clues” (inside a book)
     Encyclopedia Essay: “APA Capitalization” (inside an encyclopedia)
     Magazine Article: “The Tidy School Room” (inside a magazine)
    Scenes in Play/Movie: “The Get-Away” (inside a play or movie)
    Songs: “America, the Beautiful” (inside a songbook or cd)
    Article at Blog: “Teaching Research Writing” (in a blog)

Thanks for Joining Donna to Learn About Grammar and Writing!

Check Out Other “5 Tips From Language Lady” slideshows!

5 Places to Find Language Lady/Donna Reish Teaching Grammar and Writing

Resources for this Slideshow:

(1) Teach That Capitalization Is the Same for Both of Them

(2) Capitalization Is Subjective (Shocking, huh?): http://characterinkblog.com/punctuation-puzzle-proper-nouns-quotations/

(3) Work Extensively With Samples When Teaching Capitalization of Major and Minor Works: http://characterinkblog.com/research-report-writing-video/

(4) Start With Major Works–Titles of Books, Movies, Magazines, and More: http://characterinkblog.com/major-works-and-minor-works-quiz-with-answers/

(5) Then Move to Minor Works–Titles of Chapters, Scenes, Articles, Essays, and More: http://characterinkstore.com/product/write-right-quick-kit/

Subscribe!

...and download my Kid's Faves list plus get access to my language arts freebies!

Powered by ConvertKit

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This