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I've noticed that the first few words - sometimes one, other times 3 or more, are in small caps at the beginning of paragraphs in some of the better books I own. These words in small caps usually appear at the beginning of a chapter (first paragraph of a chapter.)
I'm wondering how many words one should put in small caps. Just the first word? Two? Three or four? Is there a standard, or is it a typographical decision left up to the writer?