There is a form of expression that is valid in English, which is to capitalize the first letter of every word, including the link words, on a newspaper article title for example. Translate the text in other languages, such as French, and this rule does not apply anymore.

Considering this, I keep seeing blogs and sales pages written in French who disregard French grammar by using the capitalization of every word's first letter in titles. Some message boards also convert people's text into this form on the titles of the different threads.

From a French perspective, reading such text makes me think that it was automatically translated from English with no human intervention in order to reach to a broader audience, thus lowering my perceived quality of the content or anything that is being sold by the use of such text.

Also, reading a capital letter at the beginning of every word in French makes me believe that the writer is strongly raising his voice at each word.

The question is : if it is often used in a selling context, this thing must work for a reason. Is there a kind of better impact by the use of capitals, so much that it is worth disregarding the current language's grammar rules?

  • 2
    I think that the reason is that people aren't familiar enough with the capitalization rules of their language, along with the prevalence of English. They see title-case being used in English and they think that that's how capitalization works universally. I see it in Russian all the time (and in at least some of those cases I know for a fact that this was the reason, because once you show them that Russian has different capitalization rules, they stop doing it). Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 12:08

2 Answers 2


In any language but English - most likely due to a common misbelief that it positively influences search engine optimization. Also following patterns from English websites may be the case; in English, that's a standard (though not a grammar rule) to capitalize certain (not all) words in headlines:


  • This may be nitpicking, but all languages. German capitalizes its common and proper nouns as it does elsewhere. And not all languages have two cases. Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 1:43

What you're describing is called title case in English, as opposed to sentence case, the standard in French. Title case is not universally applied in English. See case styles in Wikipedia. Formally it depends on the style manual being used; informally it depends on what style they learned in school (in Canada and the U.S., usually title case).

I manage content in both English and French for our intranet's IT section, and I can tell you I receive submissions in both languages in both styles. (Our house style calls for sentence case in both languages.)

Without having studied the subject in-depth, I can propose the following reasons why I see francophones submit content like this:

  • Ignorance of the correct style. You'll be surprised how many people can write grammatically correct sentences but struggle with other typographical issues (punctuation, abbreviations, where to break paragraphs).
  • High exposure to the style. This is especially true in IT, where a lot of content people read is in English. When you read enough of something one way it becomes easy to assume that's just how you do it. (I think this is also why I get so many "click here"/"cliquer ici" links!)
  • Inattention during translation from English. When it goes by our translator this gets caught, but there's content generated from all sides in an organization, and sometimes the less formal communications (including some blogs) don't get reviewed the way they should.

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