With some exceptions, most style books tell us to use italics when we write the title of a work that stands alone as a single entity. When we refer to the titles of works that appear as part of a collection of works, we set them in Roman type and enclose them in quotation marks. Examples of works that typically do not stand alone are articles, poems, short stories, and songs.
One reason we find these guidelines difficult to remember is that many newspapers enclose book and movie titles in quotation marks. Newspaper style, however, is unique to that industry and often differs from the style that governs other professional writing situations. Read more about the differences among style guides. When we were dependent upon typewriters and were unable to italicize, we underlined instead.
Many people still prefer to underline.
Italics and Titles
Remember, though, that underlining and italicizing serve the same purpose, so we should avoid using both in a single document. When we have the choice, we should use italics and reserve underlining for those occasions when we are writing by hand or using a typewriter. Actual titles as they appear at the beginning of works should be neither set in italics nor enclosed in quotation marks.
In the following sentences, which titles should be set in italics and which should be enclosed in quotation marks? Note that in sentences 4 and 5, the punctuation is inside the quotation marks.
We discuss those rules here.
Italics or Quotation Marks? Handling Titles of Works
We discuss guidelines for which words to capitalize in titles in this post.This page addresses when to use italicswhen to avoid italicshow to use italics for emphasisand when to use reverse italics.
Italics and reverse italics are covered in Sections 6. The punctuation mark after an italicized word or phrase or between elements of a reference list entry e. In general, avoid using italics for emphasis. Instead, rewrite your sentence to provide emphasis. For example, place important words or phrases at the beginning or end of a sentence instead of in the middle, or break long sentences into several shorter sentences. However, do use italics if emphasis might otherwise be lost or the material might be misread, as in the following example.
Learn more Got it! It can be confusing to know when you should be using italics and quotation marks in titles. A general rule to go by is that short titles and sections of works, such as a chapter title in a book or an episode of a TV show, use quotation marks, while larger titles or works, such as the name of a book or an album, are italicized.
However, it may depend on the style of writing you're following, so let's take a closer look at different formats. Italics and quotation marks are generally used to set a composition title apart from the text surrounding it. For example, if you were writing the sentence "I read The Cat in the Hat," it wouldn't necessarily be clear what the book title was, or even that there was a book title at all.
So, italics and quotation marks make a title stand out. Should you set off a title with italics or should you set it off with quotation marks? Well, there are rules for that. Associated Press Stylebook AP - commonly used in magazines, newspapers and the internet.
Chicago Manual of Style Chicago - one of the most well-known formats, followed in a wide variety of disciplines from publishing to science. Each of the style guides have their own rules when it comes to formatting titles, although many overlap. AP is one of the simpler styles to remember, as it doesn't use italics in composition titles at all.
APA differs from other formats in that it doesn't use quotation marks or italics for titles of shorter works, such as essays that are in collections, lectures, or journal articles.
These shorter works are simply formatted in regular type. In MLA the titles of online databases should be italicized; Chicago style says to set those in regular type.
In MLA all websites should be italicized while Chicago style says they should be in regular type. There are certain titles of things that all style guides agree should not be in italics or quotation marks.
These titles should always be set in regular type:. Italicizing is easy to do on the computer, but not practical when you are hand writing something. In such cases, underlining is still used and is considered the same as writing a title in italics. When formatting titles for the web, be aware that it is acceptable to go with whatever style is most visually appealing.
Online formats tend to be less formal in style compared to print materials. Styling for the web is about attracting visitors to the site, so make a title stand out without looking clunky in order to get more attention.
By practicing the above rules for using italics and quotation marks in titles, you'll find it becomes easier with practice. If you're uncertain about what to use, ask yourself if the title of the work appears inside a larger body of work or if it can stand alone. If the title belongs inside a larger body of work, use quotation marks. If the title is for a body of work that stands alone, it should be in italics.
Use of Italics
Above all else, consistency is key. Be sure to follow whichever style is most appropriate and stick to it. As you're writing out titles, learn more about which words should be capitalized with Rules for Capitalization in Titles. You'll be well on your way to citation mastery!
All formats except AP recommend the following titles should be in italics: Ballets, Operas, Symphonies Cartoons Comic strips Exhibitions at a museum Paintings Sculptures Ships Aircraft and spacecraft Books Plays Pamphlets Newspapers Magazines Journals Films Albums All formats except APA recommend that the following titles should be placed in quotation marks: Book chapters Names of video games Single episodes of TV and radio shows Unpublished writing such as manuscripts or lectures Album tracks or singles Podcast episodes Short stories and poems APA differs from other formats in that it doesn't use quotation marks or italics for titles of shorter works, such as essays that are in collections, lectures, or journal articles.
MLA and Chicago agree on most citation styles, but do diverge on some points: In MLA the titles of online databases should be italicized; Chicago style says to set those in regular type. When Not to Use Italics or Quotation Marks There are certain titles of things that all style guides agree should not be in italics or quotation marks.
Do You Italicize Book Titles? And Other Title Conundrums
These titles should always be set in regular type: Scriptures of major religions Constitutional documents Legal documents Traditional games such as football, hopscotch or blackjack Software Commercial products such as Cocoa Puffs Awards Political documents Names of artifacts Names of buildings Italicizing is easy to do on the computer, but not practical when you are hand writing something.
Consistency Is Key By practicing the above rules for using italics and quotation marks in titles, you'll find it becomes easier with practice. Using Italics and Quotation Marks in Titles.Italics, quotation marks, underlines, plain old capital letters—when it comes to writing titles, the rules can feel like a confusing mess.
Do you italicize book titles? What about movie titles? For some kinds of media, like book titles, the rules are clear. Always italicize the titles of large works of larger works such as books, movies, anthologies, newspapers and magazines. Additionally, newer media, such as vlogs and podcasts may be italicized.
What do anthologies, TV shows, magazines, newspapers, vlogs, and podcasts all have in common? A small work might be:. Before word processing developed italics that were easy to type and easy to read, the titles of larger works were underlined. Since handwriting italics is difficult, underlining the titles of larger works is still an acceptable notation in handwritten documents.
And as our means of communication have continued to evolve, so have our ways of indicating titles. Remember, though, that ultimately, the only purpose for these rules is to help the reader understand what the writer is trying to communicate. Let us know in the comments. My favorite tool that helps find grammar problems and even generates reports to help improve my writing is ProWritingAid. Works with Word, Scrivener, Google Docs, and web browsers.
Write their conversation using as many titles as you can and indicating them correctly! Write for fifteen minutes. Building an Author Website. Do You Italicize Book Titles? Italicize titles of large works books, movies. Put titles of smaller works poems, articles in quotation marks. When to Italicize the Title Always italicize the titles of large works of larger works such as books, movies, anthologies, newspapers and magazines.
Alice Sudlow. Alice Sudlow has a keen eye for comma splices, misplaced hyphens, and well-turned sentences, which she puts to good use as the content editor of The Write Practice and Short Fiction Break literary magazine.
She loves to help writers hone their craft and take their writing from good to excellent. The Practicing Community. Rep Your Practice If you practice, let the people who read your blog know.Have you ever found yourself questioning your use of italics in a term paper or essay? Does using italicized print worry you to the extent you just avoid italics altogether? When is the right time to use italics? This article will explain when to use those slanted letters and when it is best to leave them upright.Using quotation marks in titles - Punctuation - Khan Academy
There are approximately seven instances when it is appropriate to use italics in academic writing. Italics will likely appear in papers ranging from the arts to the sciences and will serve many functions.
To simplify things, we have defined when to use italics in Arts and Humanities papers four instances and when to use them in the Sciences three instances. There are many instances when humanities students find themselves unsure whether something they have just written deserves emphasis. If your situation doesn't fall under one of the following categories, use standard font. When including a title that can stand alone, it should be italicized in almost every instance.
This could be the title of a book, a story, a newspaper, or even your favorite television show. Here is an example of a properly written title:. It is important to remember that if a punctuation mark an exclamation or question mark is included in the title, you must italicize it as well. Titles that should not be italicized are those of religious texts.
The Bible is not italicized, nor are the titles of the books within it. Shorter titles, such as short stories from an anthology, journal articles, and episodes of television shows, cannot stand alone and thus should not be italicized.
When italicizing titles in footnotes, citations, and bibliographies, remember to reference the style guide required by your professor. When you really need to emphasize a word in writing, italics are the best way to do it. Italics can be used to ensure readers recognize the word requires emphasis.
The effective use of italics in this manner can add flare to writing and indicate more poignant text:. In this example, the italics serve to illustrate Susan's loathing of microeconomics. Without the emphasis, this sentence may not have stressed how much she truly despises the subject. A word of warning from the professionals at our essay editing service: Always use discretion when italicizing words for the purpose of emphasis in an academic essay.Titles: Underline, Italics, or Quotations?
When writing about other works, it's hard to decide when to underline or place in italics a title and when to place it in double quotations. Note that some publications have a "house style" that must be followed. When in doubt, however, these guidelines from the Modern Language Association may help:.
For titles of written or musical works that are published within other works use double quotations; underline or italicize names of works published by themselves:. Beckett's play Waiting for Godot will be performed next season. Yes, I went to a science-fiction convention. I have subscribed to my favorite magazine, The Atlanticfor many years. For names of artwork, always use italics or underlining:. For the names of famous aircraft, ships, and spacecraft, always use italics or underlining:.
The Bible, Book of Exodus, or Qu'ran do not get underlined in the text of a paper. A specific edition would, however, be underlined in a works-cited list. Their titles are capitalized. When in doubt, however, these guidelines from the Modern Language Association may help: For titles of written or musical works that are published within other works use double quotations; underline or italicize names of works published by themselves: ex.
For names of artwork, always use italics or underlining: ex. For the names of famous aircraft, ships, and spacecraft, always use italics or underlining: ex.
Sacred texts: ex.APA's Publication Manual indicates that, in the body of your paperyou should use italics for the titles of:. Beyond APA's specific examples, know that certain types of titles are almost always written in italics.
The table below isn't comprehensive, but it's a good starting point.
However, a title you'd place in quotation marks within the body of the paper such as the title of an article within a journal will be written in normal lettering and will not be in quotation marks. Smith research is fully described in the Journal of Higher Education. Smith's article "College Admissions See Increase" was published in the Journal of Higher Education after his pivotal study on the admissions process.
Rasmussen College Answers. Answers Ask a Question. When writing a paper, do I use italics for all titles? Answer Simply put: no.
APA's Publication Manual indicates that, in the body of your paperyou should use italics for the titles of: books periodicals journals, magazines, newspapers films videos TV shows Microfilm publications Beyond APA's specific examples, know that certain types of titles are almost always written in italics. Here are some examples: Smith research is fully described in the Journal of Higher Education.
FAQ Actions. Was this helpful? Print Tweet Share on Facebook. Comments 8. Nice, quick, concise listing. Good format to save for quick reference. Thank you so much for the information. It was so helpful and easily understandable.
Is it the same for MLA writing? What about the name of a community program, for example Friend's Read. Would you use quotations or italics? Sara, Librarian: Adriana, great question. Just capitalize the major words of the organization or program like you did above with Friend's Read.
Thank you for this posting. I am writing a paper on The Crucible and, surprisingly, I couldn't find on the wonderfully thorough Purdue Owl APA guide whether titles of plays are italicized or in quotes. Thank you! I am also wondering, do you capitalize only the first word of the title when using it in the text of your paper, like you are supposed to do in the references list?
Or do you capitalize all the "important" words like usual?
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