1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Capital Letters Used Less Often in Spanish

Lesson 14 in the 'Real Spanish Grammar' Series


First paragraph of news article: A pocas semanas de su estreno, pautado para el 13 de junio en Argentina, El hombre de acero va calmando la ansiedad de los cinéfilos con espectaculares tráilers y, ahora, con imágenes del superhéroe y sus dos familias.

Source: La Voz of Argentina. Retrieved May 6, 2013.

Suggested translation: A few weeks from its premiere, scheduled for June 13 in Argentina, The Man of Steel is going about soothing the anxiousness of movie lovers with spectacular trailers and, now, with images of the superhero and his two families.

Key grammatical issue: This excerpt shows the standard way in which titles of movies, TV shows and books are capitalized in Spanish.

Although there is a trend in informal written Spanish to follow the rules of English — where the first and last words plus major words are capitalized but short prepositions and articles are not — the style shown here remains standard and accepted. Only the first word and words that are capitalized in everyday writing (usually personal or place names) are capitalized.

Note also, as shown in the premiere date, names of months are not capitalized in Spanish.

It is standard to put movie and book titles in italics. (In the original of the sample sentence, the movie title actually was a boldface link, which set it apart from the other type. Otherwise, as usual in this series of lessons, the original text was left unchanged.) In handwriting, such titles are typically underlined. If italics (known as cursiva) or underlining is not available, quotation marks are sometimes used, although such use of quote marks isn't standard.

Other notes on vocabulary and grammar:

  • The opening a could have been translated as "at," since that is what a usually means in time expressions. The "at" was left out of the suggested translation because English using it would have sounded less natural.
  • In addition to referring to the premiere of a movie or other type of show, estreno can refer to the first use of an object, such as an article of clothing or a device.
  • Pautar usually means "to make lines on," such as when manufacturing paper with ruled lines. Its usage here is fairly unusual. "Pautado para" could have been translated more literally as "lined up for," but "scheduled for" seemed more straightforward.
  • As shown, the typical way a date is given is in the form "number + de + month." The day is given in numerical form, and no equivalent of "-th" as in "13th" is used.
  • "Va calmando is an example of using ir as as a type of progressive tense. In this context, it suggests that the movie studio is seeking to meet the needs of its fans over a period of time.
  • Cinéfilo is an obvious cognate of "cinephile." But cinéfilo is a more ordinary and less formal word than "cinephile" is, so the synonymous "movie lover" was used in the suggested translation.
  • The definite article los is used before cinéfilo because cinéfilo is a generic noun, one that refers to movie lovers in general.
  • Tráiler has become accepted as a Spanish word. Unlike many imported words, it uses a written accent to help maintain correct syllable stress. It can apply to a vehicle trailer as well as a movie preview. It is common for imported words to be made plural in the same way as they were in the original language. Even so, tráiler is often pluralized as tráileres.
  • The adjective espectaculares is placed before the noun tráilers because it is meant more to convey how the writer feels about the trailers than to categorize them. In other words, espectactulares can be seen as a subjective description of the trailers rather than an objective one.
  • Del is a contraction of the preposition de and the definite article el.
  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. Spanish Language
  4. Written Spanish
  5. Spanish Capitalization — Lesson 14 in the Real Spanish Grammar Series

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.