There is no question about if the first letter of the question title should be capitalized.

However, there are situations, when the capitalization of the very first first character is not possible, which however does not mean, that the capitalization should not occur at all. In many (most?) cases, the capitalization should occur at the first Latin letter, that is not part of a special prefix.

Usual cases are titles starting with a chemical name (or related term)

Note that the proper capitalization style can be verified by the examples in the last IUPAC organic nomenclature, where the capitalization of chemical names was recommended, i.e. the 1979 version (see randomly chosen example(s) here).

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There is no question that the first letter should be capitalized? My God, then an awful lot of titles need fixing. Even I myself have inconsistently applied either of no capitalization or title case to question titles, and then there are titles that are sentences instead of headlines. My point is, whatever the result of this discussion, you can probably capitalize your title however you want, and as long as it's not eye-jarring, you might get away with it. $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ This was posted as a question, but it does not attempt to ask a question. It should possibly be an answer. $\endgroup$
    – user7951
    Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 20:30

1 Answer 1


I am an advocate for the title being an actual question, that would circumvent the capitalisation issue completely. I think the examples you brought up use oddly specific terms, while being very mysterious about the actual question. I would say the following titles would be much better options:

  • What are the major products when 2-bromo-1-chloro-4-nitrobenzene reacts with sodium ethoxide?
  • Is it possible to add alkyl groups in α,β-unsaturated carbonyl compounds using secondary amines?
  • Why is carbon dioxide released when p-nitrophenol and sodium bicarbonate react?
  • What is the production process for p-phenylenediamine?

While I think 'Trans-hydrogenation of alkenes' is somewhat okay, it would probably benefit from a better title, too.


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