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I need some help on the topic of title case following the Economist Style Guide. Does the possessive pronoun "its" get a capital in Economist style title case or not. There was a recent headline "Israel Protects Its Offshore Gas Fields" and the discussion was whether "its" should be lower case because it's short and not a principal word, or with a capital because it's a possessive pronoun. Any insights?

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What does the Economist Style Guide say about title case? –  martin f Jan 17 at 6:44
I don't know about the Economist, but my rule of thumb is that if you can delete a word and still have a valid title, you don't capitalize it: "Israel Protects Offshore Gas Fields" is perfectly comprehensible and would be used if there was not enough space. –  what Jan 17 at 12:37
I love these little problems only the English language can have. –  John Smithers Jan 17 at 15:34
If "Economist Style Guide" refers to www.economist.com, then "its" is not the only word they would write lower case. –  John Smithers Jan 17 at 15:52
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1 Answer


I took a look at the Economist style guide capitals section here and found no mention of "its."

A search of the Economist website turned up articles with the following titles (bold for emphasis):

Multinationals: China loses its allure

Kenya and its Somalis: Go back home!

Turkey and its neighbours: A reset?

So although the style guide doesn't specifically address the possessive pronoun "its," they consistently leave it lower-case.

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