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With or without a capital?

 
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When writing a title, "with" doesn't get a capital.  What about "without"?

Chicken with Rice

Chicken Without Rice
 
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r ranson wrote:When writing a title, "with" doesn't get a capital.  What about "without"?

Chicken with Rice

Chicken Without Rice




To me, writing is like building yachts. When I worked at a shipyard where we built 20-30 million dollar yachts, we used tape measures, but if things did not look right even though measuring showed everything was symetrical, we just went by what looked right instead. It is the same with writing. Whether or not it is proper or not, with or without looks better without it being capitalized to me.

I would justify my thoughts by citing Chicken and Rice both are names, and thus should be capitalized because of it, whereas with or without, are not proper names. In a title, most filler words are not capitalized.

But this is from a dumb sheep farmer who has a high school education and has no knowledge of the English Language.
 
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Doctors Without Borders

Rebel Without a Cause

I think it should be capitalized.
 
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Consensus in this house (including a language degree..) is that it doesn't matter, whichever way you want. Chicken without Rice or Chicken Without Rice, to me the first looks better, but whichever it is just keep it consistent.
I think the Doctors and Rebel examples are because the without is important so it depends if you were writing Paella Without Rice then I think the capital as the Without is important but chicken doesn't always come with rice so either way.
 
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I usually tend to capitalise only the proper nouns in a title of subheading. It looks too crowded to me, otherwise.

To put it another way, "The Lord Of The Rings," or "The Lord of the Rings?"

"On The Origin Of Species By Means Of Natural Selection, Or The Preservation Of Favoured Races In The Struggle For Life," or, "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life?"

Wow, typing out the longer title with all capitalised first letters versus the standard really sold me on the standard. Time for some hand excercises and stretches, and maybe some ice.

-CK
 
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The style guides say that in most cases, capitalising with/without is down to personal choice.

That makes things harder.
 
r ranson
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How about consistency?  If the 'with' is without a capital, is it okay to have the 'Without', with a capital or does that look weird?

In favour of inconsistency - we are used to capitalising longer words but not shorter ones.

In favour of consistency - if with doesn't get a capital, then without is the same kind of word, therefore it also doesn't get one.  
 
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I agree with Skandi; I'd leave it lowercase, but I think it comes down to importance and intent.  
 
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r ranson wrote:How about consistency?  If the 'with' is without a capital, is it okay to have the 'Without', with a capital or does that look weird?



I think it would only look weird if both "with" and "without" were in the same title, and only "without" were capitalized.
 
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r ranson wrote:The style guides say that in most cases, capitalising with/without is down to personal choice.

That makes things harder.



Ha, Ha, Ha! How is this harder? You literally don't have to worry about getting it "wrong" since both ways are acceptable.
So, it comes down to what you mean to say.

I think that capitalization gives it emphasis. As in the Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontiers) example, where "Without" truly defines their mission... Also being a name that is commonly abbreviated to MSF, the capital plays into that. (is MSF even on English language news... DWB is clumsy to say and which "W" is it? with?without?)

If the default/common condition is the different from/opposite of what you are describing, maybe capitalizing draws attention that you mean a new or different idea.
As in "Peas Without Carrots", which could mean much more than just saying "Peas", because the idea you have is about upending traditional pairings, maybe introducing new ones, or keeping your food separated on your plate.

"Life without Parents", "Life Without Parents", "Life, Without Parents"; in my opinion, would be books on three completely different topics.
 
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Short answer at end.

Long answer:

Oy, I'm trying to think of the number of jobs and arcane interests I've had over the years that intersect on this question. Not always with answers that run in the same direction.

Professional writers and/or their editors, except for quirky hip post-apocalyptical rebel poet types or whatever, follow a "style guide" of some sort. You choose one and you stick to it, and each organization that uses it (like a company or a division of a book publisher or a local paper or whatever) makes an appendix to it for anything they choose to do differently or that applies to their profession or whatever. This enforces consistency.

A couple of people I have worked with who I've admired a lot, when you asked them this kind of question, wouldn't answer right away. They would disappear for a minute, thumb to the right page in the style guide, and then give you the answer. The idea is that our opinions on the subject are not important. It's just about consistency and making grammar and language transparent so that people are focusing on your ideas and not on the funny way you spelled/spelt or capitalized/-ised something. Wasn't that jarring how I called attention to the possible variations of those words? It's to avoid that.

Otoh, this stuff falls within the realm of "prescriptive grammar," aka high-falutin experts that tell folks how to talk correct. Some unkind people call prescriptive grammarians "grammar Nazis." Any self-respecting linguist will tell you that prescriptive grammar is complete bunk and no one has a right to make up these rules. The only legitimate thing that matters is clarity for the purposes of communication. Linguists just do "descriptive grammar," i.e. what linguistic gymnastics people must perform in order to clearly express themselves and understand others who speak the same language that they do. So in English we say "I'm going to grandma's house" and not "House of grandma mine to go I" which sounds like jibberish to us but those words in another language would make sense and actually be the usual way to say it.

So what's clearer? Without or without?

Well I suppose the real answer is that it's not the end of the world either way, because either one is clear, i.e. the meaning doesn't change.

However, if you want to put some professional polish on it, just follow convention, again, so people focus on your message and not the delivery. "Without" is a preposition, like "with," and prepositions are not capitalized in titles according to any style guide I know of.

Of course, the rule invites the exception. A big movie poster with the dramatic lettering, "Rebel without a Cause" just seems weak. And if Hollywood can make a few extra million by ratcheting up the drama and importance of every word in that title, "Rebel Without a Cause," they will. Or rather, they did. And of course, post apocalyptic rebel poets violate the rules just so everyone know how free they are to do what they want. Which is fine, who wants to sell Ginsburg down the river?

Short answer: It's lower case, "without." Unless your heart and soul demand that you do otherwise.

 
Dave de Basque
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r ranson wrote:The style guides say that in most cases, capitalising with/without is down to personal choice.

That makes things harder.



OMG, seriously? Which ones? I must be out of the loop... gotta get out more.
 
Trace Oswald
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:

r ranson wrote:The style guides say that in most cases, capitalising with/without is down to personal choice.

That makes things harder.



Ha, Ha, Ha! How is this harder? You literally don't have to worry about getting it "wrong" since both ways are acceptable.



That was my first thought exactly. It seems to me it's easier.
 
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I was taught never to capitalize conjunctions and prepositions UNLESS they're the first or last word in a title or they're five or more letters long. Without should therefore be capitalized.
 
r ranson
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Dave de Basque wrote:

Professional writers and/or their editors, except for quirky hip post-apocalyptical rebel poet types or whatever, follow a "style guide" of some sort. You choose one and you stick to it, and each organization that uses it (like a company or a division of a book publisher or a local paper or whatever) makes an appendix to it for anything they choose to do differently or that applies to their profession or whatever. This enforces consistency.

A couple of people I have worked with who I've admired a lot, when you asked them this kind of question, wouldn't answer right away. They would disappear for a minute, thumb to the right page in the style guide, and then give you the answer. The idea is that our opinions on the subject are not important. It's just about consistency and making grammar and language transparent so that people are focusing on your ideas and not on the funny way you spelled/spelt or capitalized/-ised something. Wasn't that jarring how I called attention to the possible variations of those words? It's to avoid that.




Thank you!

This describes exactly how I feel!

When it comes to style: Constancy is more important than correctness.

I'm casting a quick eye over some work for a friend.  The problem is, I don't know what style guide they are using (I've asked (again), so I hope to find out soon).  

In my own work, I wish I had chosen a style guide earlier.  This would have saved a few thousand dollars with editing and formatting.  But I now know for next time and keep my chosen style guide on my desk at all times.  It will soon have sticky notes and a gloss of all the changes I make to my style... because English is forever changing and is beautiful in it's malleability.  There is no 'right' way to use this language; however, consistent usage makes the text easier to understand.  
 
r ranson
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Trace Oswald wrote:

Kenneth Elwell wrote:

r ranson wrote:The style guides say that in most cases, capitalising with/without is down to personal choice.

That makes things harder.



Ha, Ha, Ha! How is this harder? You literally don't have to worry about getting it "wrong" since both ways are acceptable.



That was my first thought exactly. It seems to me it's easier.



It's not easier because the person has chosen to use "with" and "Without".  So which one do we correct?  When they are mixed like this, they confuse the reader.  It's especially difficult for someone like me with dyslexia who relies on the patterns of word-shapes to read.  
 
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Jan White wrote:I was taught never to capitalize conjunctions  UNLESS they're the first or last word in a title or they're five or more letters long. Without should therefore be capitalized.



That's new to me.  

I haven't found a style guide that suggests this - but maybe it's more a memory trick since most of the words we don't capitalise are generally short?  
 
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It should be with and without. For no other reason than I said so. Now you have a self appointed expert to point at.
 
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Dave de Basque wrote:follow a "style guide" of some sort. You choose one and you stick to it...The idea is that our opinions on the subject are not important. It's just about consistency and making grammar and language transparent so that people are focusing on your ideas and not on the funny way you spelled/spelt or capitalized/-ised something.



Best bet.
 
Kenneth Elwell
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r ranson wrote:

When it comes to style: Constancy is more important than correctness.

I'm casting a quick eye over some work for a friend.  The problem is, I don't know what style guide they are using (I've asked (again), so I hope to find out soon).  

In my own work, I wish I had chosen a style guide earlier.  This would have saved a few thousand dollars with editing and formatting.  But I now know for next time and keep my chosen style guide on my desk at all times.  It will soon have sticky notes and a gloss of all the changes I make to my style... because English is forever changing and is beautiful in it's malleability.  There is no 'right' way to use this language; however, consistent usage makes the text easier to understand.  



Maybe you just answered your question?
If you are not in charge of the changes, merely looking for overlooked details for a friend, then isn't pointing out the inconsistency enough?
It seems like they'd say "Gosh, you're right! Thank you." and then proceed to change one...

(Probably to the opposite of what you were thinking, at which point and forever after, you can secretly judge them. ;-p)
 
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r ranson wrote:When writing a title, "with" doesn't get a capital.  What about "without"?
Chicken with Rice
Chicken Without Rice



Neither should be capitalized: They are linkage words. Even capitalizing Rice. That is a Germanic practice to capitalize all nouns, not an English one. However, there is wide latitude, and more as our intellectual elite is getting less and less learned, it seems that everything goes.
For a title, it would be appropriate to put it in all caps: CHICKEN WITH [or] WITHOUT RICE.
You could even capitalize WITH if you sought to distinguishing from the one WITHOUT [Chicken WITH rice / WITHOUT rice.]
Either way, since they both fit in the category of linkage words, they should be treated the same way: There is no grammatical or stylistic reason to treat them differently.
 
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r ranson wrote:When writing a title, "with" doesn't get a capital.  What about "without"?

Chicken with Rice

Chicken Without Rice



It depends...

;)
 
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