Should you capitalize the word "a" following a colon? For example:

Lipscomb, A. Y. (2021). Addressing trauma: a look at the college essay writing process. The Journal of College Admission, (249), 30–33.

1 Answer 1


You should, yes. According to the APA website (emphasis added)

Format of the title

Follow these guidelines to format the title element. Additional guidelines for less common cases are provided in the Publication Manual.

For works that are part of a greater whole (e.g., journal articles, edited book chapters), capitalize the title using sentence case. Do not italicize the title or use quotation marks around it.

Happy fish in little ponds: Testing a reference group model of achievement and emotion.

From the "Sentence case" page linked above (emphasis added):

In sentence case, lowercase most words in a title or heading. Capitalize only the following words:

  • the first word of the title or heading
  • the first word of a subtitle
  • the first word after a colon, em dash, or end punctuation in a heading
  • nouns followed by numerals or letters
  • proper nouns (such as the names of racial or ethnic groups)

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