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  • Category: Improve Your English

    Hyphen vs Colon punctuation - which is correct to use in a title?

    I am a little confused when using a hyphen and a colon punctuation in a title. Which to use when? Let's say I am writing a review of a book. Should it be:
    Sachin Tendulkar's Playing it My Way: a review
    or
    Sachin Tendulkar's Playing it My Way - a review

    In terms of SEO too, would it matter which of the 2 symbols I use?

    Related to the hyphen, I would also like to know the difference in usage of a hyphen and a dash (this being the longer symbol). Which should be used when?
  • #568178
    I think the English grammar in general including punctuation are getting redefined/evolved after advent of internet and online content writing. Everything is now getting attuned according to the SEO considerations. The Victorian chaste English grammar is getting replaced by the more convenient options.
    Regarding the basic question raised by the author - 'Sachin Tendulkar's Playing it My Way - a review' is used more nowadays compared to the other option. However, being the title , the letter 'r' of the word 'review' should also be in capital letter making it look like - Sachin Tendulkar's Playing it My Way - a Review.
    There is another confusion i.e. whether all the words should be started with a capital letter (title case) or articles /smaller words like 'a', 'the', 'it', etc. should be left with smaller letters only.

    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #568239
    In these days, colon(:) is silent and dash(-) is predominant. I feel it better to use a dash or a hyphen (-). As long as there is no confusion, a colon or dash doesn't make any difference. The choice is yours. We are advancing with our English.
    No life without Sun ¤

  • #568383
    Speaking about Colon and Hyphens first.
    A colon is used when you are pointing out to text which is relevant to the text mentioned before it. Text mentioned before and after the colon would be incomplete when either are not present.

    For example,
    A ladoo is made of:
    1. Semolina
    2. Raisins
    3. Almonds
    4. Sugar
    5. Butter Ghee

    A hyphen is made use of when you want to join two complete parts into one sentence. These two complete parts can become one sentence when joined by and, or, if and other connectors. But these connectors can be avoided and clutter of words can be removed.

    For example:
    Sachin Tendulkar's playing it My Way - A review

    Here, "Sachin Tendulkar's playing it My Way" is complete in its own meaning
    and
    "A review" has its own meaning.

    Thus, when it comes to a title, it is correct to use a hyphen and not a colon.

    Hyphens are also used to mentioned a "related" sentence in between a flow of a different sentence.

    LinkedIn has become a standard - as mentioned by Galileo - for making professional relationships and grow your potential to be a successful career.

    Let us speak about SEO now.
    This will completely depend on how the website where you write an article, renders the title into its URL.
    As an example,
    Sachin Tendulkar's playing it My Way - A review
    can be rendered in the following ways:
    Sachin-Tendulkar-s-playing-it-My-Way--A-review
    Sachin-Tendulkars-playing-it-My-Way-A-review

    You will have to check after you have written your article as to what is happening to the title.

    You may thus want to tune up your Title in either of the following ways:
    Sachin Tendulkar's playing it My Way - A review
    Sachin Tendulkar's playing it My Way-A review

    or if you have the ability of correcting the URL, the same can be done.

    Also keep a look on your browser title. A browser title can display up to 25 to 30 characters. Characters mean alphabets, numbers, symbols and spaces.
    While a complete title can be displayed upon hovering on the tab bar, it is nicer to have the browser title to show up in a complete manner within the 25 to 30 word limit.

    There is no probably no negative marking based on what gets displayed. But there can be a Zero score or a +1 score based on what gets displayed and how it gets displayed.

    For example, LinkedIn Groups page shows in the tab as My Groups. There is a favicon which shows that the tab is of LinkedIn and thus My Groups shows what it is.
    Instead, if it had showed "LinkedIn India website My Groups", then probably My Groups gets hidden which is usually not required.

  • #568386
    @ Kailash
    A title can be mentioned in both ways:
    1. Sachin Tendulkar's Playing it My Way - A Review
    2. Sachin Tendulkar's playing it my way - A review

    The capital alphabet is mentioned where we give emphasis and thus naturally our finger presses the shift key to make the alphabet a capital.

    On internet, Capital alphabets and words denote shouting or emphasising.

    Thus too many capital letters create a sense of discomfort.

    Thus, while there is no hard and fast rule of when to capitalize alphabets, we could present so, by keeping in mind whether we want to emphasize or we want to keep the particular word subtle.

    Every website may have their own way of mentioning capital letters.

    In ISC, we prefer sentence case. Yet you may want to capitalize an alphabet only when otherwise required.
    The first alphabet after a connector symbol can also be capitalised.

    Thus the said title could be written as follows:
    Sachin Tendulkar's playing it My Way - A review

  • #568390
    AT (#568386 ) - I was talking about case only e.g. - upper case, lower case, sentence case, title case etc. in my post #568178.
    The internet language has changed many things in Victorian English grammar.

    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.


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