In most newspapers in the U.S. (and in virtually all publications in the U.K.), sentence case (also known as down style) is the standard form for headlines.
- Guidelines for Using Capital Letters
- Title Case
- Which Words in a Title Should Be Capitalized?
Examples and Observations:
- "Barack Obama flies to thank troops who killed Bin Laden"
(headline in sentence case from The Guardian [U.K.], May 7, 2011)
- "Sarah, Duchess of York defends Princess Beatrice's weight against 'rude' critics"
(headline in sentence case from The Daily Telegraph [U.K.], May 13, 2008)
- The elements of English grammar by George Philip Krapp
(book title in sentence case)
- AP Style: Headlines
"Only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized. . . .
"Online: For online subscribers so desiring, AP systems convert headlines to a version with all words capitalized."
(The Associated Press Stylebook: 2010, edited by Darrell Christian, Sally Jacobsen, and David Minthorn. The Associated Press, 2010)
- APA Style: Sentence Style in Reference Lists
"In titles of books and articles in reference lists, capitalize only the first word, the first word after a colon or em dash, and proper nouns. Do not capitalize the second word of a hyphenated compound."
(Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. American Psychological Association, 2010)
- "Librarians and bibliographers work with minimal capitals [i.e., sentence case], . . . yet [other options] are well established in literary tradition. For many people there's virtue in using [sentence case] in lists and bibliographies, but using one of the other options for titles quoted in the course of a written discussion."
(Pam Peters, The Cambridge Guide to English Usage. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004)
- "In major companies, the problem of consistency may be largely unreconcilable. The public relations department has to use a 'down style' because it is writing for newspapers, but department heads insist on capitalizing the names of titles and departments. . . .
"One practical solution is to compile brief style lists for separate purposes. . . . Departments should be free to compile their own lists to take care of special circumstances."
(Donald Bush and Charles P. Campbell, How to Edit Technical Documents. Oryx Press, 1995)