Writing A Book Title In Your Essay – The Right Way

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Table of contents

  • 1 APA Style: How to Write Book Titles in Essays
  • 2 APA Style Essay: Writing The Name of The Author
  • 3 MLA Style Essay: Citing a Book Title
  • 4 Chicago Style Essay: Writing the Book Title
  • 5 Writing Various Types of Titles
  • 6 Should We Underline or Italicize Book Titles?

When you are writing an academic essay , the book title and author’s name should be written in italics. However, if the book title is part of a larger work (such as a journal article), it should be underlined instead. So, you’re wondering how to write a book title in an essay?

Writing an essay with a book title can be tricky, particularly because each style guide has its own formatting rules for including titles in the main text. Whether you are using MLA, APA, Chicago, or Harvard referencing styles, you will need to consider how to properly format the book title. For more complicated literature-based assignments, seeking assistance from an admission essay writing service may be wise, as they specialize in writing essays that incorporate academic sources.

In this article, we will explore how to write both titles in an essay properly so that you avoid any mistakes!

APA Style: How to Write Book Titles in Essays

When writing an essay, you must follow the style guide provided by your professor. Some teachers may require you to use APA style and others MLA style. There are some rules on how to quote a book title in an essay. You should use italics and quotation marks when writing book titles in essays. For example: “ The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. “

When writing a book title in APA Style , you should be aware of these rules:

Write the book title in italics and place it after the author’s name, which is presented in reverse order (last name first).

Use quotation marks around the headline of a chapter or article.

Capitalize proper names that are not common nouns (names of people, places, organizations), but do not capitalize words such as “and,” “or,” “to,” or “and/or.”

Do not capitalize prepositions that appear at the beginning of titles if they are followed by an article (e.g., “A,” “An”), but do capitalize prepositions at the beginning of titles if they are not followed by articles (“Of”).

The first word of the headline should be capitalized, as well as any other words after a colon or hyphen. For example, “The Elements of Style: Grammar for Everyone”  or “Theories of Personality: Critical Perspectives.”

Capitalize proper names and words derived from them (e.g., the names of people, places, organizations), except proper nouns used generically (e.g., ‘a bed’).

APA Style Essay: Writing The Name of The Author

You should always use the full name and surname of the author in your APA essay because this will give proper credit to the writer. If you do not mention the author’s full name, people may not know who wrote what and will think you copied it from somewhere else. This will cause lots of problems for you and your reputation as well.

Make sure that all authors’ names appear in the same format in each entry. For example, if one person’s surname is Smith and another’s is Jones, both have first names starting with “J.” It may seem like they are being cited as different people when they’re actually written differently from each other on separate pages in your paper.

To write an APA essay without any issues, there are certain rules that you need to follow while writing an author’s name in APA essay:

  • Use only one author’s name in your paper unless there are multiple authors
  • If there are multiple authors, then use both their last names followed by the initials of their first names
  • Only use initials of first names when there are three or more authors; otherwise, use full names with their last names
Example: Johnson, M.C., Carlson, M., Smith, J. N., & Hanover, L. E.

MLA Style Essay: Citing a Book Title

Now let’s discuss how to mention a book in an essay. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition, published by the Modern Language Association (2014), contains detailed rules about how to cite a book title in an essay.

The following guidelines will instruct you on how to refer to a book in an essay in MLA style :

  • List your sources at the end of your paper, before the works cited page or bibliography.
  • Use italics for titles of books, magazines, and newspapers, but not for articles within those publications, which should be placed in quotation marks.
  • Include all relevant book information under two categories: “title” and “author.” In the former category, include the work’s title and its subtitle if there is one; do this even if neither appears on your title page (see below). In the latter category, include only primary authors who have written or edited an entire book; if there are multiple contributors, you should cite them separately under each.

The general format for citing the title of the book in an essay is as follows:

Author’s last name, first initial (Date). Title of Book with Subtitle if there is one. Publisher Name/Location of Publisher; Year Published

Chicago Style Essay: Writing the Book Title

One of the most important things to remember when writing in Chicago style is how to write the title of a book in an essay. To write a good book title in an essay, you should follow these steps:

  • Write it at the beginning of your sentence.
  • Capitalize it just like any other noun or proper noun.
  • Put a comma after the title unless it’s an introductory clause or phrase. For example: “The Firm,” by John Grisham (not “by”) and “The Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D Salinger (not “and”).
  • In addition to the book’s name, punctuation marks should also be italicized.
For example: Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince: Children’s Edition

Writing Various Types of Titles

Now that we covered how to write a book title and author in an essay, it’s time to look at some different types of titles. When you write a book title in an essay, several things must be considered. Whether it’s a book, series, chapter title, editor’s name, or author’s name, how you write it depends on where it appears in your paper.

Here are some key rules for writing headings for novels:

  •  Use capital letters to write the title of the novel. For example,  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett .
  • Use italics and capital letters to write the name of the author and his/her other works mentioned in a book title—for example,  Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) .

You should use quotation marks when writing headings of short title poems, articles, and stories.

However, before deciding which format to use, it is important to understand the main idea you want to express in your essay. Additionally, you could use essay papers for sale to help you accomplish your goal of writing an essay effectively.

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Should We Underline or Italicize Book Titles?

It depends on which style guide you use. The Modern Language Association and Chicago Manual of Style both suggest using italics, while the American Psychological Association suggests using quotation marks with a few exceptions.

The way you write the title of a book in an essay is different depending on the instructions you were given. For example, if you’re writing an essay in APA style, use quotation marks around the book’s name. If you’re writing for MLA or Chicago style , however, italicize the book’s name instead. If you’re writing a handwritten essay instead of using a computer, capitalize and underline the book’s name.

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do you italicize book titles in an essay title

do you italicize book titles in an essay title

Do You Italicize Book Titles? MLA, Chicago Manual, and APA Rules (Examples)

do you italicize book titles

Whether you are writing a book, a business blog, a research paper, or a magazine article, staying true (and consistent) to grammar and style is extremely important. It makes the entire article/ manuscript consistent and reading easy !

But with so many styles and style guides around, losing track is very common. This is especially true when you are writing titles – of books, stories, poems, chapters, and more – in your articles. Don’t you wonder whether you should underline the book titles, put them in italics, write them in quotation marks , or follow the traditional capital letter style? Well, we all do, and we often find ourselves hovering over different options, completely unsure of which one to choose .

So, should you italicize book titles or underline them?

The general rule says, always italicize book titles, if they are long and complete work. This keeps them distinct and makes them easily recognizable, especially when you are mentioning a book within your content. Italicizing also helps the reader to understand that this particular book is separate from the rest of the work they are reading. However, short titles – of poems, stories, articles, and chapters are often written in quotation marks.

For example:

Long title: Have you read In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust?

Short title: Grab your copy of “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy.

Now, this sometimes, can get very confusing and can put your writing all over the place. So when you are stuck between a right and a wrong, always follow the rule of thumb – How you write book titles in your work is a matter of choice (style). It is not governed by any grammarian law. There is no single source that governs how you must handle titled works and mostly depends on the style guide your publication is following – APA, Chicago, MLA, or any other.

So ask your editor his/ her preference and stick to it across your content. After all, consistency is the key to turning your writing into the most professional-looking copy .

In this article, we’ll help you learn the styling parameters that different style guides follow while writing book titles:

MLA rules for italicizing book titles

MLA stands for Modern Language Association – a United States-based society that styles manuals for students and scholars across the world. The MLA Handbook follows a particular style for documenting book titles, in the text as well as at the end of the article. As per the MLA style guide:

  • Titles that are independent and self-contained are italicized.
  • If the book title has a subtitle, the subtitle is italicized and separated by a colon (:).
  • Titles that are contained in larger works ( e.g. , short stories, chapters) are put in quotations.
  • However, when it comes to series titles, the MLA rules are a little confusing. In MLA, if a series title forms a part of the book title, then it is italicized. Otherwise, it is left in plain text. For example, the ‘Twilight Saga’ is a series title that you won’t italicize because it is not the tile of the book. But Harry Potter (a series title) you will italicize because it also forms a part of the title.  
  • Godfrey, Wyck., et al. The  Twilight Saga :  New Moon . Two-disc special ed. [Los Angeles, CA], Summit Entertainment, 2010.
  • Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 1998.

Chicago Manual of style rules

The Chicago Manual of Style is another widely accepted and used citation system. It is used across various disciplines like the humanities, sciences, social sciences, and more. It has its own style for citing books , titles, and full-length and freestanding works. If you want to follow the Chicago Manual of Style while formatting your book titles, here are some points to remember:

  • Always italicize and capitalize the titles of your full-length, freestanding works. These include books, magazines, journals, blogs, research papers, and more.
  • Online book citation also follows the same format.
  • Chapter titles are always written in quotations and are not italicized.

APA style guide rules

The American Psychological Association (APA) is one of the most common and widely used reference styles. It is mostly used as a citation style for books and manuals written in the field of social sciences, psychology, sociology, and more.  It has its own set of rules for in-text and reference list citations. But when it comes to italicizing the books’ titles, the rules are pretty similar.

  • Though in the APA, italicizing is kept to the bare minimum, long book titles, periodicals, webpages, reports, and standalone work are all italicized.
  • Chapter titles in the APA are neither italicized nor written within quotes; the book titles however are. Also, the name of the chapter’s author is written in the first position.

7th Edition rules

The seventh edition of the APA is the latest edition and its purpose is to help students, scholars, and researchers write and communicate more effectively. Some of the biggest changes brought by the APA in its seventh edition include:

  • The first letter (of the first word) of the title is capitalized.
  • If there is a colon (:) in the title, the first letter after the colon is also capitalized.
  • Proper names in titles are always capital
  • Titles of books, magazines, journals, and newspapers are always italicized.
  • Titles of articles or book chapters are not italicized.
  • The title of the webpage is always italicized.
  • The publisher’s location is no longer included in the reference.

When to Italicize Book Titles

As you could see , when it comes to writing book titles, a common rule applies across all styles ( barring a few exceptions ). So, if you are not following a particular citation style that asks you to do otherwise, this is a general rule that you can easily fall back on:

  • Always italicize the titles of self-contained, independent work: books, albums
  • Always italicize the titles of large books, like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  • Always italicize magazine names, like The New Yorker
  • Always italicize newspapers, like The New York Times

Italicizing titles creates a visual hierarchy and helps a reference source stand out from the rest of the text.

When to Avoid Italicizing Book Titles?

While most book titles should be italicized, there are some exceptions to the rule:

  • Short titles or titles of smaller works are not italicized. These include titles of short stories, poems, and chapters.
  • The title of the series is not italicized. For example, while you would italicize Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets , you would not highlight the Harry Potter Series.
  • Holy Books like The Bible and Quran, along with their sections, are not italicized.
  • Headlines and course titles are also not italicized.

Do You Underline Book Titles?

No, we do not underline book titles . Underlining is an old formatting style that was once extensively used to emphasize certain words, phrases, and titles. But today, due to the availability of extensive formatting options, underlining has lost its mark and is not used as a preferred formatting option.   

However, if you are writing with a medium that does not offer the option to italicize, you may underline the text to emphasize it.

Do You Quote Book Titles?

Books, magazines, newspapers, and series all comprise many smaller parts, like a short poem, a chapter, a short story, and an episode. When citing these small pieces of work, we prefer writing them in quotation marks.

The teacher read a story titled “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl.

I missed the last episode of “Shaun the Sheep”.

 Susan is reading “The Fellowship of the Ring” from the Lord of the Rings .

Do You Italicize Book Series Titles?

While italics are used to emphasize book titles, trilogies and book series titles are only capitalized, not italicized.

What About Children’s Book Titles, Do Those Get Italicized?

Children’s books in style guides get the same treatment as other authored books. That is, titles of full works are italicized but short titles of poems, short stories, articles, or chapters are put within quotation marks. Also, in addition to the author’s name, they also include the illustrator’s name.

  • Italics and Underlining: Titles of Works
  • Treatment of titles
  • Do You Italicize Book Titles In APA? A Must Read
  • Should You Underline Or Italicise Book Titles?
  • Do You Italicize Book Titles? Essay Secrets Revealed
  • Should You Italicize Book Titles? A Guide to Formatting Titles

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do you italicize book titles in an essay title

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How to Write Book Titles in Your Essays

How to Write Book Titles in Your Essays

3-minute read

  • 26th May 2023

When writing an essay, you’re likely to mention other authors’ works, such as books, papers, and articles. Formatting the titles of these works usually involves using quotation marks or italics.

So how do you write a book title in an essay? Most style guides have a standard for this – be sure to check that first. If you’re unsure, though, check out our guide below.

Italics or Quotation Marks?

As a general rule, you should set titles of longer works in italics , and titles of shorter works go in quotation marks . Longer works include books, journals, TV shows, albums, plays, etc. Here’s an example of a book mention:

Shorter works include poems, articles, chapters of books, episodes of TV shows, songs, etc. If it’s a piece that’s part of a biggHow to Write Book Titles in Your Essayser work, the piece considered a short work:

Exceptions to the Rule

The rule for writing book titles in italics applies specifically to running text . If the book title is standing on its own, as in a heading, there’s no need to italicize it.

Additionally, if the book is part of a larger series and you’re mentioning both the title of the series and that of the individual book, you can consider the book a shorter work. You would set the title of the series in italics and place the book title in quotation marks:

Punctuation in Book Titles

Do you need to apply italics to the punctuation in a book title? The short answer is yes – but only if the punctuation is part of the title:

If the punctuation isn’t part of the title (i.e., the punctuation is part of the sentence containing the title), you shouldn’t include in the italics:

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Summary: Writing Book Titles in Essays

We hope you’ll now feel confident when you’re writing and formatting book titles in your essays. Generally, you should set the title in italics when it’s in running text. Remember, though, to check your style guide. While the standards we’ve covered are the most common, some style guides have different requirements.

And once you finish writing your paper, make sure you send it our way! We’ll make sure any titles are formatted correctly as well as checking your work for grammar, spelling, punctuation, referencing, and more. Submit a free sample to try our service today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write the title of a book in a sentence.

Set the title of the book in italics unless the book is part of a larger work (e.g., a book that’s part of a series):

When do you use quotation marks for titles?

Place titles of shorter works or pieces that are contained in a larger work in quotation marks:

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Title of Source. The title is usually taken from an authoritative location in the source such as the title page. It is the name of the source you are using. Capitalize the following parts of speech in a title: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, subordinating conjunctions (although, because, unless, after, until, when, where, while, etc.). Do not capitalize articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, the "to" in infinitives if they appear in the middle of the title. A colon separates the title from the subtitle unless it ends in a question mark or exclamation. Titles should be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks. Titles that are independent and self-contained (e.g., books) and titles of containers (e.g., anthologies) should be italicized. Titles that are contained in larger works (e.g., short stories) should be in quotation s. Exceptions to the above rule are: 1) Scripture (Genesis, Bible, Gospels, Upanishads, Old Testament, Talmud, etc.) Titles of individualized scripture writings, however, should be italicized and treated like any other published work.(e.g. The Interlinear Bible) 2) Names of laws, acts and political documents (Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, Magna Carta, Treaty of Marseilles, etc.) 3) Musical compositions identified by form, number, and key (Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A, op. 92) 4) Series titles (Critical American Studies, Bollingen Series, etc.) 5) Conferences, seminars, workshops, and courses (MLA Annual Convention, English 110)

The title of the work follows the author and ends with a period . Mitchell, Margaret. Gone With the Wind . New York: Macmillan, 1961.

A sub-title is included after the main title . Joyce, Michael. Othermindedness: The Emergence of Network Culture. U of Michigan P, 2000. Baron, Sabrina Alcorn et al., editors. Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein. U of               Massachusetts P /Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 2007.

The title of a story, poem or essay in a collection, as part of a larger whole, is placed in quotation marks . Dewar, James A., and Peng Hwa Ang. "The Cultural Consequences of Printing and the Internet." Agent of Change: Print             Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein. U of Massachusetts P /Center for the Book, Library of Congress,             2007, pp. 365-77. 

Independent work in a collection When a work that is normally independent (such as a novel or play) appears in a collection, the work's title remains in italics. Euripides. The Trojan Women . Ten Plays, translated by Paul Roche, New American Library, 1998, pp. 457-512.

The title of a periodical (journal, magazine, or newspaper) is in italics and the title of the article is in quotation marks. Goldman, Anne. "Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante." The Georgia Review, vol. 64, no. 1, 2010           pp. 69-88. Note: This rule applies to all media forms such as the title of a television series, an episode in a television series, a song or piece of music in an album, a posting or article on a web page. See examples below. Television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer . Created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mutant Enemy, 1997-2003. Episode in a television series "Hush." Buffy the Vampire Slayer , created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah           Michelle Gellar, season 4, episode 10, Mutant Enemy, 1997-2003. Web site Hollmichel, Stefanie. So Many Books . 2003-13, somanybooksbkog.com Note: When giving a URL, omit http and https. Posting of an article on a web site Hollmichel, Stefanie. "The Reading Brain: Differences Between Digital and Print."           So Many Books, 25 April 2013, somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/the-reading-brain-differences-between-digital-           and-print/. A song or piece of music in an album Beyonce. "Pretty Hurts." Beyonce , Parkwood Entertainment, 2013,           www.beyonce.com/album/beyonce/?media_view=songs.

Untitled Source In the place of the title, provide a generic description of the source without italics or quotation marks. Capitalize the first word in the title and any proper nouns in it. Mackintosh, Charles Rennie. Chair of Stained Oak. 1897-1900, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Comment or review of a title in an online forum Jeane. Comment on "The Reading Brain: Differences Between Digital and Print." So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013,            10:30 p.m., somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/the-reading-brain-differences-between-digital-and-            print/#comment-83030

Review of a title in an online forum Mackin, Joseph. Review of The Pleasures of Reading of an age of Distraction , by Alan Jacobs. New York Journal of Books, 2 June 2011, www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/            pleasures-reading-age-distraction.

Tweet Reproduce the full text without changing anything and enclose within quotation marks. @persiankiwi."We have report of large street battles in east and west of Tehran now. - #Iranelection." Twitter ,            23 June 2009, 11:15 a.m., twitter.com/persianwiki/status/2298106072.

E-mail message Use subject as the title. Subject is enclosed in quotation marks. Boyle, Anthony T. "Re: Utopia." Received by Daniel J. Cayhill, 21 June 1997.

Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword Capitalize the term in the works cited list but do not italicize or enclose in quotation marks. The term need not be capitalized in in-text discussion. Felstiner, John. Preface. Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan , by Paul Celan, translated by Felstiner              W.W. Norton, 2001, pp.xix-xxxvi.

Translations of Titles Place translations of titles for foreign works in square brackets in the works cited list. The translation appears next to the title.

Shortened titles The first time a title is mentioned in your work, it should appear in full. If the title is repeated in the work, it can be shortened to a familiar one (e.g., Skylark for Ode to a Skylark).

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Punctuation with Titles

Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook . For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

In a previous Ask the MLA post, we explained how to incorporate titles ending in question marks or exclamation points into works-cited-list entries . But how do you incorporate such titles into your prose? How do you handle titles ending in other punctuation marks? And what should you do about other matters of punctuation related to titles?

Titles Ending in Question Marks or Exclamation Points in Your Prose

At the MLA, we never insert a period after a title ending in a question mark or exclamation point, but we insert a comma if doing so makes a sentence easier to read—for example, when such a title is one item in a series or when the title is contained in a nonrestrictive clause:

“I just saw Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? , Oklahoma! , and Design for Living ,” Roland said.
The center hopes its 1992 theme, Explore New Worlds—Read!, will draw attention to geography.

But when possible, we prefer to reword:

The center hopes to draw attention to geography with its 1992 theme, Explore New Worlds—Read!

Titles That Need to Be Shortened 

When we need to shorten a really long title in a works-cited-list entry, we add an ellipsis after the first part of the title up to at least the first noun. If a work has an alternative title, we might include it. If a period is needed, we insert the period before the ellipsis and set the punctuation roman:

Bulwer, John.  Philocophus; or, The Deafe and Dumbe Mans Friend. . . .      Humphrey Mosely, 1648.

If a comma is needed, as it would be when the long title is the title of a container, we insert it after the ellipsis. We set the ellipsis and the comma roman:

Smith, Ann. Introduction.  Philocophus; or, The Deafe and Dumbe Mans Friend . . .  , Humphrey Mosely, 1648, pp. x-xxi.

In prose, we omit the ellipsis:

Philocophus; or, The Deafe and Dumbe Mans Friend  was written by John Bulwer.

Titles Ending in an Ellipsis or Dash

If the ellipsis is part of the title, we add the period or comma after the ellipsis. The ellipsis is set in italics if the title is italicized, but the additional punctuation is set roman:

One of the most popular comic films of the 1980s was Rob Reiner’s When Harry Met Sally . . . . One of the most popular comic films of the 1980s was When Harry Met Sally . . . , directed by Rob Reiner. Work Cited Reiner, Rob, director. When Harry Met Sally . . . . MGM, 1989.

We follow the same principle if a title ends in a dash:

A well-known poem about death is Emily Dickinson’s “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—.” A well-known poem about death is “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—,” by Emily Dickinson. Work Cited Dickinson, Emily. “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—.” The Poems of Emily Dickinson , edited by R. W. Franklin, Harvard UP, 1999.

Titles and Subtitles

Section 1.2.1 of the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook says, “Use a colon and a space to separate a title from a subtitle, unless the title ends in a question mark or an exclamation point. Include other punctuation only if it is part of the title or subtitle.”

The handbook provides the following examples:

Storytelling and Mythmaking: Images from Film and Literature
Whose Music? A Sociology of Musical Language

But sometimes titles are not straightforward. In such cases, we follow some additional rules.

For example, when a title is followed by two subtitles, we use two colons:

Finis Coronat Opus: A Curious Reciprocity: Shelley’s “When the Lamp Is Shattered”

When a period separates a title and a subtitle on the title page, we change the period to a colon. When a question mark, exclamation point, or dash separates a title and a subtitle on the title page, we leave the original mark:

On the title page: The East End. The Story of a Neighborhood
In your prose: The East End: The Story of a Neighborhood
Both on the title page and in your prose: What Do I Know? An Account of an Investigation

But if a title contains a title ending in a question mark or exclamation point, we add a colon:

Moby-Dick and Absalom, Absalom! : Two American Masterpieces

Here the exclamation point is part of the title Absalom, Absalom! , so a colon is needed to separate the title Moby-Dick and Absalom, Absalom! from the subtitle.

Double Titles

For an alternative or double title in English beginning with or , we follow the first example given in section 8.165 of The Chicago Manual of Style and punctuate as follows:

England’s Monitor; or, The History of the Separation (452)

But no semicolon is needed for a title in English that ends with a question mark or exclamation point:

“Getting Calliope through Graduate School? Can Chomsky Help? or, The Role of Linguistics in Graduate Education in Foreign Languages”

For double titles of foreign language publications, we follow the source.

Dates in Titles

Unless a date is part of a title’s syntax, we follow section 8.163 of Chicago and set it off with a comma:

Melodrama Unveiled: American Theater and Culture, 1800–1850 (451)

Serial Comma in Titles

Contrary to section 8.163 of Chicago , for English-language titles of books published in the United States, we add the serial comma before the conjunction preceding the final item in a series if the comma is missing. Otherwise, we follow the source. The following book was published by Verso in London, so the serial comma is not added:

Buelens, Geert. Everything to Nothing: The Poetry of the Great War, Revolution and the Transformation of Europe. Verso, 2015.

Works Cited

The Chicago Manual of Style . 16th ed., U of Chicago P, 2016.

MLA Handbook . 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

90 Comments

Omar 22 october 2017 at 07:10 am.

Dear Jennifer, I have a question regarding the use of semi-colons in the subtitle of report headlines. Specifically, I'd like to know whether or not the first word after the semi-colon should be capitalized. I know that the first word after the subtitle typically begins with a capital letter as per Chicago and AP rules, but the AP is silent on what to do when the subtitle is itself separated by a semi-colon. Is the below headline acceptable?

Hurricanes 2017: Galeforce winds batter UK; Flood warnings issued nationwide

Your e-mail address will not be published

Jennifer A. Rappaport 23 October 2017 AT 12:10 PM

Great question. MLA style, following Chicago , capitalizes the first letter of the first and last words of a title and the first letter of any other words in the title unless they are articles or prepositions, so in your example, we would capitalize not only "Flood" but also all the other words in the title: "Hurricanes 2017: Galeforce Winds Batter UK; Flood Warnings Issued Nationwide." (Note that "galeforce" is not in Webster's so if we were crafting this title we would style it "Gale-Force Winds," but if it were a published title, we would follow copy.)

Amy W 05 January 2018 AT 09:01 AM

What would you do if the title with a question mark was in quotes, rather than italicized? Would the comma go inside or outside the quotation mark? "...?," Or "...?",

Jennifer A. Rappaport 08 January 2018 AT 09:01 AM

The comma would be placed inside the quotation marks.

Colleen 24 April 2018 AT 02:04 PM

Where would the commas go if I listed multiple titles that had quotation marks? Ex. I read "Riding the Rails," "The Long Road to Oregon," and "Coming out West." Is that correct with the commas and period inside the quotation marks?

Jennifer A. Rappaport 24 April 2018 AT 08:04 PM

Yes, correct. Please see our related post for examples: style.mla.org/punctuation-and-quotation-marks/

Amy Nelson 26 January 2018 AT 05:01 PM

When the title of the work being cited in the WC list includes the title of another text (for example, the cited work is titled A Critical Edition of John Lydgate's _Life of Our Lady_, with the last four words in the title -- here set apart with underscores -- being the title of a long poem and thus italicized), should the secondary / interior title be italicized along with the main title, or should it be formatted in standard typeface in contrast with the main title's italics?

Jennifer A. Rappaport 31 January 2018 AT 09:01 AM

Thanks for your question. The answer is on p. 71 of the handbook (1.2.4 "Titles within Titles").

Patricia Bostian 20 February 2018 AT 12:02 PM

Can't find an answer for citing a title within a title when it comes at the end. This is for a citation: "An Overview of 'A Rose for Emily'." OR "An Overview of 'A Rose for Emily.'"

Jennifer A. Rappaport 21 February 2018 AT 12:02 PM

Great question. The period goes inside the single quotation mark.

Karen 12 March 2018 AT 12:03 AM

I have an issue with a document on line that I want to call attention to. This document has several sections or parts and each section or part has a name/header/sort of title. I need to mention the name/header/title of each section in this document. Should I put the names/headers/titles of each section in quotations or italics? How should I punctuate this? Also, to do certain things with this document, you have to navigate through it, for example: click "Save and finish later" or click "Next". Should these "Click" buttons be in quotation marks or italics as well? Thank you for your help.

Jennifer A. Rappaport 13 March 2018 AT 02:03 PM

Thanks for your question. We'll submit it to Ask the MLA.

Renee 15 March 2018 AT 10:03 PM

When citing an article title that contains periods, should the periods be omitted? For example: In the article "That's No Woman. That's My Wife.," the author states...

That's No Woman. That's My Wife. is the title, but the punctuation doesn't look correct. Thank you!

Jennifer A. Rappaport 16 March 2018 AT 07:03 AM

Good question. We'll submit it to Ask the MLA.

Frank 27 July 2018 AT 07:07 PM

Jennifer, thanks for this wonderful and useful piece. One issue I'm still confused about is how to handle the mid-sentence appearance of titles containing a single comma. (Some examples: Lust, Caution ; White Hunter, Black Heart ; New York, New York .

To consider the last example, I know that I would write a non-title version of the phrase as follows:

• I took a trip to New York, New York, and had a wonderful time.

But is this the correct way to place the title in the middle of a sentence?

• We watched the Scorsese film New York, New York and really enjoyed it.

Is no comma required at the end of the title to "close out" the comma in the middle?

Jennifer A. Rappaport 30 July 2018 AT 06:07 AM

Thanks for your question. Whereas a comma is needed before and after the state in formulations such as "New York, New York," when the city and state are used as the title of a work, no comma is needed following the name of the state, unless the grammar of the rest of the sentence requires it (After watching the movie New York, New York , we went out to dinner).

Alethia 14 August 2018 AT 03:08 PM

Is it common to place an additional comma between the year and time in a subtitle? i.e. meeting announcement August 21, 2018, 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (EST)

Jennifer A. Rappaport 15 August 2018 AT 07:08 AM

Yes, a comma should generally separate a date from a time.

Cynthia Crosbie 30 August 2018 AT 12:08 AM

How would you punctuate this sermon title: “Building Wisely,” Part 1 Should Part 1 be written as part of the title? italicized? in parentheses? Should Part 1 be left off and only Part 2 and Part 3 written?

Jennifer A. Rappaport 03 September 2018 AT 06:09 PM

Thanks for your question. In MLA style, "part 1" would be included in the "Number" slot on the MLA format template:

https://style.mla.org/works-cited-a-quick-guide/

ML Corwin 08 November 2018 AT 04:11 PM

The author of this book has put colons after the chapter numbers followed by the chapter title. Three chapters are each about one of three "Power Blockers." How to punctuate those? Which of two styles is preferable? Use a second colon or not?

Chapter 6: Power Blocker #3 Misplaced Blame

Chapter 6: Power Blocker #3: Misplaced Blame

Jennifer A. Rappaport 09 November 2018 AT 09:11 AM

There's no hard-and-fast rule about how to style chapter numbers before titles, but in a table of contents, I would recommend the following in the example you've sent:

Chapter 6. Power Blocker #3: Misplaced Blame

Andrew Johnston 29 November 2018 AT 02:11 PM

My question concerns the title of an academic publication.

In my situation, the title concludes with a question and the subtitle gives further clarification.

How can I distinguish the title from the subtitle?

For example:

Competition Law within the European Union is Functioning Just Fine, but do fines cut it?: An exploration of the efficacy of corporate fines in achieving the goals of EU Competition Law, and the potential benefits of reform.

Competition Law within the European Union is Functioning Just Fine, but do fines cut it? An exploration of the efficacy of corporate fines in achieving the goals of EU Competition Law, and the potential benefits of reform.

I look forward to having this one resolved.

Jennifer A. Rappaport 30 November 2018 AT 08:11 AM

Thanks for your question. The question mark separates the title from the subtitle.

Competition Law within the European Union Is Functioning Just Fine, but Do Fines Cut It? An Exploration of the Efficacy of Corporate Fines in Achieving the Goals of EU Competition Law, and the Potential Benefits of Reform.

Sue 05 December 2018 AT 05:12 AM

Hi there, We are trying to figure out how to punctuate a role title. For example,

You are invited to be an Organization Lead at xyz company.

Should 'Organization Lead' have quotation marks like "Organization Lead" or single quotations or none at all?

And if a course title, do I add 'xx' or "xx" as well in a phrase? For example, Access "Digital Marketing" today.

Thank you for your help!

Jennifer A. Rappaport 05 December 2018 AT 07:12 AM

Thanks for your question. In MLA style, quotation marks are not used around professional titles or titles of courses. We also lowercase professional titles: organization lead.

Stevie D 11 December 2018 AT 04:12 PM

When using a short story title within a paper's title, and before a subtitle, where does the colon belong?

"A Rose for Emily:" Northern Progress Meets Southern Tradition or "A Rose for Emily": Northern Progress Meets Southern Tradition

Thanks for your help!

Jennifer A. Rappaport 11 December 2018 AT 07:12 PM

The colon goes after the title in quotation marks:

“A Rose for Emily”: Northern Progress Meets Southern Tradition

Shari 14 January 2019 AT 10:01 PM

Thank you so much for your help Jennifer, but what if the title is an analysis of a book. For example, about animals in Harry Potter?

Can I write:

Anthropomorphisation and Animal representation: A post humanistic analysis of Harry Potter.

Is this the right format for MLA?

Jennifer A. Rappaport 15 January 2019 AT 06:01 AM

Thanks for your question. The correct styling in MLA format would be

Anthropomorphization and Animal Representation: A Posthumanistic Analysis of the Harry Potter Books (since Harry Potter is the name of a series of books, not the name of a particular book).

Christine Dushack 22 January 2019 AT 12:01 PM

For the following, does the period go inside the quotation marks or outside? It is a title of a paper.

For questions 3-10, refer to "The Beetle Juice". Or For questions 3-10, refer to "The Beetle Juice."

Jennifer A. Rappaport 22 January 2019 AT 12:01 PM

Thanks for your question. See our answer here:

https://style.mla.org/punctuation-and-quotation-marks/

Mark 02 February 2019 AT 10:02 AM

While I understand how to punctuate a question, I'm a bit confuse as to the proper rule regarding titles that do not indicate it's a question but rather an answer.

For example, there are plenty of "how to" posts that do not have any punctation in the title.

How to prepare for a snowstorm

How do I prepare for a snowstorm?

I would think the proper way is ...

How to prepare for a snowstorm. (with a period)

But I'm finding several major newspapers and magazines do not punctuate these titles with a period. It seems to me it creates a conflict with citing sources using proper punctuations. Can you clarify how MLA handles this?

Jennifer A. Rappaport 03 February 2019 AT 08:02 AM

Thanks for your question. We would style the title as follows:

How to Prepare for a Snowstorm

Calla Andrews 26 March 2019 AT 02:03 PM

Does one need a period after a title ending with a question mark when the title is the end of the sentence? For example: We were analyzing the short story "Who's Afraid of the Storm?" I think that's enough punctuation, but should there be a period after the quotes? With a non-question mark title, the period for the end of the sentence would go inside the quotes.

Jennifer A. Rappaport 26 March 2019 AT 04:03 PM

A question mark is indeed enough punctuation in your example. There should be no period after the closing quotation mark.

Carly Bondár 02 April 2019 AT 01:04 PM

Hi there. I have a question about listing book titles that have commas in their titles. For example, I want to list four book titles in a single sentence, but two of the books have commas in the titles. How do I write out the list so as to be clear about which commas are part of the titles and which are separating items in a list? Do I use semicolons? It doesn't look right. As of now the only thing distinguishing the commas in the titles from the commas used as list separators is that the former are italicized and the latter are not. I just worry this isn't clear enough when the font is small.

Jennifer A. Rappaport 03 April 2019 AT 07:04 AM

Great question, Carly. You have it exactly right: the commas between the titles are not italicized, so those commas separate one title from another.

Eitan 03 July 2019 AT 07:07 PM

In my academic field, I often see titles that include some made-up system name, a colon, and a short description of the system. Something like: "Gizmo: a great new way to do things". Is there a name or term for the first word in this title, the system name? It's clearly not the subtitle or the title, but is there anything else I can call it?

Jennifer A. Rappaport 15 July 2019 AT 12:07 PM

In this case, "Gizmo" is the title, and "A Great New Way to Do Things" is the subtitle.

Jesse P 14 July 2019 AT 07:07 PM

Hi, I'm wondering what to do when a question inside quotation marks is the first half of a title (i.e. followed by a subtitle). I see that it says here, “Use a colon and a space to separate a title from a subtitle, unless the title ends in a question mark or an exclamation point. Include other punctuation only if it is part of the title or subtitle.” However, does that still hold true when the title is in quotation marks? In that case might the colon be added back (since technically the quotation mark would make for a barrier between the question mark and the colon so they wouldn't be directly in a row)? Or still no? For example: "A Man for All Seasons?" Reflections on John Wayne OR "A Man for All Seasons?": Reflections on John Wayne

Jennifer A. Rappaport 15 July 2019 AT 01:07 PM

We retain the colon:

"A Man for All Seasons?": Reflections on John Wayne

David Charles Burt 29 July 2019 AT 03:07 PM

I need advice on how to use commas in a title of a piece I've written for an American publication. The title is: From Brass Pins Pistols and Swords to Warships.

How are the commas to be placed in this title ? David Burt, England.

Izabel 02 December 2019 AT 11:12 PM

Hi! I'm an artist (a painter) and sometimes I have two names, or titles, for my paintings. How to write it correctly? Usually I just place it in quotation, for example: "The painting one", or "The painting two". I'm originally from Russia, and we have these punctuation rules (with comma before 'or' with double titles), but I doubt it is correct in English. Please, help.

Jennifer A. Rappaport 03 December 2019 AT 07:12 AM

Thanks for your question. We also have rules in English for punctuating double titles. See the section "Double Titles" above.

Zaine Pittman 10 December 2019 AT 04:12 PM

Hello, I have a question. What if there is a book with a title that has the article "The" in it. When you write it on a document or something, would you put the article after the full title, and separate the article and end of the title with a comma? for example, "Maze of Bones, The"?

Jennifer A. Rappaport 11 December 2019 AT 07:12 AM

Thanks for your question. In prose and works-cited-lists, the article should remain at the start of the title, but in an index, it would likely be listed as Maze of Bones, The.

Kara Wood 09 January 2020 AT 07:01 PM

I have a list of newspaper article titles that are being analyzed by some high school students; naturally, one of the article titles ends with a question mark. What is MLA's rule on this?

Here's the opening to his précis:

In his 2019 articles “Sea Level Rise Could Claim Mar-a-Lago — and Trump’s empire,” “U.S. Women’s Soccer Players Shouldn’t be Paid as Much as Men. They Should Get More.,” and “What Can a Black Person do to Keep from Getting Killed by Police in this Country?” American columnist Eugene Robinson unabashedly addresses various controversial topics, ranging from the everyday lunch conversation starter, climate change, to the heated, yet popular political campaign platforms of gender and racial discrimination in order to . . .

Jennifer A. Rappaport 15 January 2020 AT 07:01 AM

Thanks for your question. We would insert a comma between the question mark and the closing quotation mark because it makes the sentence easier to read.

Reb 03 March 2020 AT 04:03 PM

If a book title within an article title is not italicized should this be corrected in the citation?

Jennifer A. Rappaport 04 March 2020 AT 06:03 AM

Thanks for your question. See section 1.2.4 of the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook .

christina 03 March 2020 AT 07:03 PM

Is it correct if I were to have my title with a colon and a question mark? If so, do I add a space between?

Thanks for your question. A colon and a question mark should not generally appear next to each other in a title. So, for instance, if a title ends in a question mark and the title is followed by a subtitle, do not add a colon between the title and the subtitle. See the example above: Whose Music? A Sociology of Musical Language .

Reb 04 March 2020 AT 11:03 AM

Thanks but 1.2.4 does not address my question. Yes, a book title within a journal article title should be italicized. But if the book title is NOT italicized in the actual journal article, do I make that correction in my works cited page?

Jennifer A. Rappaport 05 March 2020 AT 07:03 AM

Thanks for the clarification. If the book title is not italicized in the journal article, do not italicize it. Copy the article title as it appears in the source.

Reb 05 March 2020 AT 05:03 PM

Jeff dailey 17 april 2020 at 08:04 am.

I want to title a play with a long title and need your thoughts on both my chosen punctuation and capitalization and thank you. Here is my title: An Angel with Flowers, Broadway Bound in Twenty-Seventeen, B.C. [Before COVID-19]

Jennifer A. Rappaport 20 April 2020 AT 06:04 AM

Thanks for your question. You might consider An Angel with Flowers: Broadway-Bound in 2017 BC (before COVID-19)

Julie 27 April 2020 AT 11:04 AM

Should university course titles be punctuated if they are mentioned in a letter?

For example: "I look Introduction to Film last spring, and it helped me understand movies."

Thank you for such a helpful forum!

Jennifer A. Rappaport 28 April 2020 AT 07:04 AM

Thanks for your question. In MLA style, course titles are set roman without quotation marks, so your example is correct.

Ricardo Bravo 29 June 2020 AT 10:06 AM

Hi There, Names of restaurants, theaters should be in italic as well? Best and thanks!

Jennifer A. Rappaport 29 June 2020 AT 03:06 PM

Thanks for your question. Names of restaurants and theaters should be styled roman without quotation marks.

Mark 22 August 2020 AT 10:08 AM

Good Day Jennifer, is it a grammer law that you Must put a question mark at the end of your title if the title is a question...I"m just trying to find out the Pros and Con"s and the benefits of using the question mark in this type title.

Jennifer A. Rappaport 29 August 2020 AT 08:08 AM

Thanks for your comment. It's probably a good idea to include a question mark if you are creating a title that is a question.

Valerie Exar 06 October 2020 AT 09:10 AM

Hello, For the title of a paper I'm writing:

A Comparison of Water Supply in Houston, TX and Baltimore, MD

Do I put a comma after TX, as I would insert within the body of the paper? (Same question would apply if I spelled out the state names)

Jennifer A. Rappaport 07 October 2020 AT 07:10 AM

Thanks for your question. Yes, there should be a comma after "TX" or after "Texas."

Madeline Patrick 14 October 2020 AT 03:10 PM

Hello, Jennifer A. Rappaport. As a high school junior enrolled in a college class, I want to, well, I want to show off to my classmates. I mustn't have errors! After some reading online, I have received mixed answers on whether or not I can put a period at the end of a précis title for emphasis. Could you help me?

With many thank yous, Madeline A. Patrick

Jennifer A. Rappaport 15 October 2020 AT 08:10 AM

Thanks for your question. A title should not end in a period.

Samantha Hanna 10 December 2020 AT 11:12 AM

What would you put after by in the title?

By: someone? A

By; someone? B

By, someone? C

Jennifer A. Rappaport 10 December 2020 AT 11:12 AM

Thanks for your question. Are you referring to the byline rather than the title? If so, there should be no punctuation between "by" and the author's name.

Patrick Love 23 February 2021 AT 12:02 PM

Thank you for your post. I have a question concerning how to punctuate a short story title, but I am trying to add an apostrophe "s" to the title. I am trying to make this sentence: "The Necklace's" ending is an example of situational irony because ...

So I am wondering if it is correct to add the apostrophe "s" inside of the quotation marks or should it be added outside of the quotation marks?

Thank you for your time, Patrick

C. Barney Latimer 09 March 2021 AT 10:03 AM

The apostrophe and "s" go after the title’s closing quotation mark (“The Necklace”’s). However, an easier and more readable solution would be to reword the sentence to avoid this awkward use of the possessive: The ending of “The Necklace” is an example of situational irony because. . . .

Judy Lee 06 May 2021 AT 09:05 AM

I think a period is needed at the end of the following sentence: The peddler went up, took out a scroll, and showed him the verse “Who is the man who desires life […]?” (Psalms 34:13). What say you? Thanks.

Chris Davis 19 May 2021 AT 02:05 PM

How do you punctuate a title and subtitle that are BOTH questions?

A Water-Proof Phone?: Is There a Market for Water Resistant Smartphones? OR A Water-Proof Phone? Is There a Market for Water Resistant Smartphones?

C. Barney Latimer 25 May 2021 AT 04:05 PM

When the main title of a work ends in a question mark or exclamation point, no colon precedes the subtitle, even if the subtitle also ends in a question mark or exclamation point. The correct format for your example is therefore “A Waterproof Phone? Is There a Market for Water-Resistant Smartphones?” Note that no period follows the question mark at the end of the subtitle when the title appears at the end of the sentence. However, if a title ending in a question mark appears in the middle of a sentence, a comma may be used if it makes the sentence easier to read, as in this example: “After reading ‘A Waterproof Phone? Is There a Market for Water-Resistant Smartphones?,’ I accidentally dropped my smartphone in the bath.”

W. 16 October 2021 AT 01:10 PM

If the title of a work appears at the end of a sentence, where does the period go? before or after the quotations marks for the work? B) Aesop uses allegory and satire to expose humanity’s ego in his fable, “The Fox and the Grapes”. or B) Aesop uses allegory and satire to expose humanity’s ego in his fable, “The Fox and the Grapes.”

Wyatt F. 18 November 2021 AT 09:11 AM

How would you punctuate a title that exclaims itself?

Ammy 23 November 2021 AT 09:11 AM

How the author can enter the number/part of the paper in the title of their essay/monograph/article for publication in a journal. The MLA Template shows the sequence of writing the numbering when quoting/referring someone's work; but it does not answer the question of how the author should compose their title correctly when the work is divided into parts. For example:

1// Short Title: A Long Subheading Containing Ten Words—Paper 1 of (a/the?) Historical Jesus Review Series

2// Short Title: A Long Subheading Containing Ten Words Part 2 of Historical Jesus Review Series /as second line/

3// Short Title: A Long Subheading Containing Ten Words. Part 3 of Historical Jesus Review Series

4//Short Title: A Very Long Subheading Containing Fourteen Words. I Short Title: A Very Long Subheading Containing Fourteen Words. II

How it is advisable to design the numbering itself: Article 1, Essay 2, Part 3, IV, or just Paper 5?

The question is fundamental and will help many people who divide their articles into parts. Thank you for your comprehensive responsiveness.

Christin Bonin 17 January 2022 AT 08:01 AM

I am about to publish my dissertation. The Title is: The Broadway Belt The Musical Diva and her Belt Voice from Technical, Ethnic, and Feminist Perspectives Now my big question: Oxford Comma after Ethnic/before and ... or not?

Aliaa Bondok 09 February 2022 AT 08:02 PM

Hello! Unfortunately, I could not find an answer to my question in the MLA guide, so here is it: How do I punctuate a certain quote take from a novel when I include this quote in a title, heading, or sub-heading? Should I capitalize the words of the quote or just copy them as they are in the novel? Example: the original quote reads: “a future of poverty and despondency” I want to include it in a subheading a) Escaping “a future of poverty and despondency” b) Escaping "a Future of Poverty and Despondency" Which version is correct, (a) or (b)?

Thanks in advance!

Pallavi 20 April 2022 AT 12:04 PM

Is this title correct ?

Prone to dominance and criminality ? : The scientist figure in selected films

Russ 21 April 2022 AT 01:04 PM

My book title contains a colon, but I am told that the title, when placed on the book cover, binding and title page, should be written without the colon. I am confused!

Jadyn 03 October 2022 AT 06:10 PM

If the title is inside quotation marks at the end of a sentence (Example: This is discussed in the book "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success") Does the period go inside or outside the quotation?

Laura Kiernan 24 October 2022 AT 04:10 PM

Thanks for your question. In MLA style, titles of books are italicized, so, in the example you supplied, you wouldn't surround Mindset: The New Psychology of Success in quotation marks. For guidance on punctuation around titles, see section 2.105 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Nour 30 October 2022 AT 05:10 PM

Hi i have a question regarding article titles is it : Study Suggests Video Games Can Help Mental Health. or Study Suggests Video Games Can Help Mental Health with ponctuation or without ponctuation ??

Kristina 03 October 2023 AT 01:10 PM

Hi there, I'm working on a subtitle for my children's book. Title: A children's picture book about monsters (or perhaps not-so-scary monsters) I would use caps, but I'm not exactly certain which words wouldn't be capitalized other than or? I'm wondering if you can use parenthesis in a book subtitle? Originally I was thinking about using the line: A children's picture book about scary monsters (or ARE they)? Again, I'm not sure about the parenthesis or ending a book subtitle with a question mark. I've seen one so far and they placed the question mark inside the parenthesis and didn't have any punctuation after the parenthesis. Just wanted to get your advice. Thanks so much!

Uma Maheswari 08 November 2023 AT 09:11 PM

I want to frame a question in MLA style. Which one is correct regarding the question mark at the end? What is the significance of the title of the poem "An African Elegy"? What is the significance of the title of the poem "An African Elegy?" Note: The title of the poem does not have a question mark. It is mine. Thank you

Laura Kiernan 09 November 2023 AT 04:11 PM

Thank you for your question about MLA style. For guidance, see section 6.53 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Emma 17 February 2024 AT 09:02 AM

In my list of works cited, titles of self-contained sources need to be italized, now my question is, does the period right after it have to be italized as well or just the title? Thank you!

Noir 27 March 2024 AT 07:03 PM

Can I include a period at the end of a sentence for a title?

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do you italicize book titles in an essay title

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  • APA Style - 7th edition
  • Specific Rules for Authors & Titles

APA Style - 7th edition: Specific Rules for Authors & Titles

  • Basic Information

Rules for Writing Author and Editor Information

Rules for writing titles.

  • Media Sources
  • Internet Sources
  • In-text Citations
  • Reference Lists

There are certain things to keep in mind when writing the author's name according to APA style. Authors may be individual people, multiple people, groups (institutions or organizations), or a combination of people and groups. 

  • You must include all the authors up to 20 for individual items. For example, if you are using an article that has 19 authors you must list them all out on your reference page. 
  • Use initials for the first and middle names of authors. Use one space between initials.
  • All names are inverted (last name, first initial).
  • Do not hyphenate a name unless it is hyphenated on the item.
  • Separate the author's names with a comma and use the ampersand symbol "&"  before the last author listed.
  • Spell out the name of any organization that is listed as an author.
  • If there is no author listed, the item title moves in front of the publication date and is used.

An item that you use may have an editor instead of an author or in the case of audiovisual materials a writer or director.

  • For editors follow the same rules above and put the abbreviation (Ed.) or (Eds.) behind the name(s). 
  • For audiovisual materials follow the same rules as above and put the specialized role (Writer) (Director) behind the name. 

Zhang, Y. H.  (one author)

Arnec, A., & Lavbic, D. (two authors)​

Kent State University (organization as author)

Barr, M. J. (Ed.). (1 editor)

Powell, R. R., & Westbrook, L. (Eds.). (2 editors)

here are certain things to keep in mind when writing a title according to APA style.

  • Book titles are italicized and written using sentence case (only the first word of a title, subtitle, or proper noun are capitalized).
  • Book chapter titles are written using sentence case and are not italicized.
  • Journal titles are italicized and written using title case (all the important words are capitalized).
  • Article titles are written using sentence case and are not italicized.
  • Webpages and websites are italicized and written using sentence case.

Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (book title, American Psychological Association is a proper noun so it is capitalized)

Student perspective of plagiarism (book chapter title)

Internet plagiarism in higher education: Tendencies, trigging factors and reasons among teacher candidates (article title, Tendencies is the first word of a sub-title so it is capitalized)

Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education (journal title)

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  • Last Updated: Jul 14, 2023 4:23 PM
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Do You Italicize Book Titles? Essay Secrets Revealed

Updated: July 13, 2022

Published: June 21, 2020

Do-You-Italicize-Book-Titles-Essay-Secrets-Revealed

When you’re writing a scholarly article or writing in a professional setting, you want to make sure that your grammar and style is meeting the required expectations. There may be a chance you’re writing about a book you’ve read or citing sources in a research paper . If you’ve ever found yourself wondering things like, “Do you italicize book titles or underline them?” or “How do I cite shorter pieces of work properly?” then keep on reading!

We are going to give you all the details on when it’s correct to use italics, along with how to emphasize other types of reference material.

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Do you italicize book titles.

The general rule of thumb is to use italics for long works and quotations for short work.

But depending on the format you’re meant to adhere by, the rules may vary. For example, you may be instructed to write according to the APA style, MLA, or Chicago Manual of Style. You should follow the rules dictated by the guidelines.

Writing Formats

  • Modern Language Association (MLA): Used in arts and humanities
  • American Psychological Association (APA): Used in social sciences
  • Associated Press Stylebook (AP): Used for magazines, newspapers, and internet
  • Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago): Used from publishing to science, one of the most popular styles

For MLA, APA, and Chicago Manual of Style, you should use italics for long works and quotations for short works.

For AP style, however, you never use italics for pieces of work — no matter the length. Additionally, the APA style neither uses quotation marks or italics for shorter works. Instead, it expects them to be written as normal text.

Sometimes, the choice of style may be up to you as a writer. If that’s the case, then it’s best to stay consistent throughout your work with your usage of italics, underlines and quotation marks.

Short Works: How to Emphasize Titles of Shorter Pieces of Work

When you are making reference to a title of an article or a chapter in a book, you shouldn’t put it in italics. Instead, you can use quotation marks to emphasize these smaller pieces of work. This is the same rule for titles of episodes of shows.

Do You Italicize Punctuation in Titles?

When a piece of work includes punctuation, like a question mark for example, that part of the title should be italicized, too. For example, you’d write, “I love the book Oh the Places, You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss.”

However, when you are writing and using italics in a sentence for emphasis or within a parenthetical, then you do not italicize the punctuation.

Exceptions For Emphasizing Titles

Like with most aspects of English, there are some exceptions to the rule. One exception is when you have a book that is a collection of various novel titles, like Lord of the Rings . In this case, you’d put the title of the specific books in quotation marks, but you’d keep the title of the collection in italics.

Additionally, when the word “the” is part of a title, you do not italicize it. For example, it’s correct to write the New York Times .

How To Capitalize Properly

Titles have special formatting and capitalization rules. For example, you only capitalize the first word and all main words in a title.

You do not capitalize articles, such as “a,” “an” or “the.” For example, you’d write: War and Peace instead of War And Peace .

When to Use Quotations Instead

There are very specific cases for when you should elect to use quotation marks for the titles of works as opposed to italics. Use quotations for:

  • Articles in journals or magazines
  • Short stories
  • Book chapters
  • Television episodes

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

Examples of correct usage of italics.

Here’s a list of examples to help for reference sake:

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (movie title, notice that articles are lower case)
  • The Cat in the Hat (book title)
  • “Mary Had a Little Lamb” (song title)
  • “How Pandemics End” (article title)
  • The New York Times (newspaper title)
  • “The Tell-Tale Heart” (a short story)

Final Thoughts

Knowing when to italicize or use quotation marks is not a one-size-fits-all answer. It may depend on the writing format you’ve been instructed to write in.

However, a general rule of thumb to follow is that longer pieces of work, like books, require italics, whereas shorter pieces of work, like poems or articles, will be written with quotation marks.

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When writing a paper, do I use italics for all titles?

Simply put: no .

APA's Publication Manual (2020) indicates that, in the body of your paper , you should use italics for the titles of:

  • "books, reports, webpages, and other stand-alone works" (p. 170)
  • periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers)

Beyond APA's specific examples, know that certain types of titles are almost always written in italics. 

A general rule of thumb is that within the text of a paper, italicize the title of complete works but put quotation marks around titles of parts within a complete work. 

The table below isn't comprehensive, but it's a good starting point

On an APA-style  reference page , the rules for titles are a little different.  In short, a title you would italicize within the body of a paper will also be italicized on a reference page.  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 without italics and quotation marks on the references page.

Here are some examples:

Smith's (2001) research is fully described in the Journal of Higher Education.

Smith's (2001) article "College Admissions See Increase" was published in the Journal of Higher Education after his pivotal study on the admissions process.

Visit the APA Style's " Use of Italics " page to learn more!

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Comments (8)

  • Nice, quick, concise listing. Good format to save for quick reference by AlonzoQuixano on May 14, 2015
  • Thank you so much for the information. It was so helpful and easily understandable. by mary woodard on Jun 29, 2015
  • Is it the same for MLA writing? Thanks Sara, Librarian: Lesa, Rasmussen College doesn't teach or focus on MLA for students. But if you have specific MLA formatting questions, I recommend you take a look at the MLA FAQ website here: https://www.mla.org/MLA-Style/FAQ-about-MLA-Style by Lesa D.W on Dec 04, 2015
  • What about the name of a community program, for example Friend's Read. Would you use quotations or italics? Sara, Librarian: Adriana, great question. for organization or program names in the text of a paper you don't need to use italics or quotation marks. Just capitalize the major words of the organization or program like you did above with Friend's Read. by Adriana on Apr 11, 2016
  • 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. by J.D. on Apr 18, 2016
  • this was really helpful, thank you by natalie on Dec 11, 2016
  • thank you so much, this is very helpful and easy to understand. by Mendryll on Jan 24, 2017
  • 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? Sara, Librarian Reply: Ashley, within the text of your paper you should capitalize all the important words like you normally would. Thank you for your question! by Ashley on Dec 04, 2017

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How to Write a Book Title in an Essay (MLA, APA etc.)

Formatting your essay correctly ensures that you get full recognition for the hard work you put into it. Wondering what to do? There are two scenarios that lead you to the question of "how to write a book title in an essay":

  • You have not been required to use a particular style guide, in which case consistency remains important.
  • You have been instructed to use a particular style guide. You now simply need to ensure that you are familiar with its rules.

Regardless of which of these scenarios holds true for you, this guide is here to help.

How to Write a Book Title in an Essay

Many style manuals call on writers use title case and italics to format a book title. Title case rules vary slightly from one style guide to the next, but generally capitalize all important words — nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adverbs. Conjunctions and prepositions are not capitalized unless they are very long (generally more than four letters) or they appear at the beginning or end of a book title.

Writers who are not required to work with a specific style manual can't go wrong if they stick to this style. Some examples would be:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals That Protect us From Violence by Gavin de Becker
  • The Cat With a Feathery Tail and Other Stories by Enid Blyton

If, on the other hand, you're required to use a style guide, it will likely be one of these:

  • MLA, commonly used in disciplines relating to literature and social sciences.
  • APA, commonly used in psychology and other sciences.
  • Chicago, often used in the publishing industry.
  • Harvard style, commonly used in philosophy and social sciences.

These are certainly not the only "big players" in the style guide world, but they're ones it's good to be familiar with. There is overlap between these styles, but there are also major differences — so knowing one definitely does not mean you know the others, too.

Guidelines for Writing a Book Title in an Essay

Looking for a short and sharp answer, so you can get on with the rest of your essay? This is it.

This quick guide will help you reference the book title of your choosing in the body of your essay, but what about your Works Cited pages? Each style guide offers different rules, and we'll use the same book as an example to illustrate the differences.

  • MLA uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Book . City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Year. Example: Card, Orson Scott. Ender's Game. Tor Books, 1985. (You only have to detail the city of publication if the book was published before 1900, the publisher has offices in many localities, or the publisher is not known in the US.)
  • APA uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Name. (Year of Publication). Title of book. Example: Card, Orson Scott. (1985). Ender's game.
  • Chicago style uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Name. Book Title: Subtitle . Place of publication: Publisher, Year. Example: Card, Orson Scott. Ender's Game . Tor Books, 1985.
  • Harvard uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Initial. (Publication Year). Title . ed. City: Publisher. Example: Card, O. (1985). Ender's Game. Tor Books.

If, after researching, you cannot find relevant information about publication years, publishers, or the city in which a book was published, you may omit it. For a full guide, it is always best to have a physical copy of the latest edition of the style manual you are using. You can, however, get by without this if you need to.

Should you still not know what to do, it will be helpful for you to know that you can "generate" citations for a particular style manual with the help of online tools like Cite Me . These are not always accurate, so if you decide to use one, always check the citation manually.

Why Is Proper Formatting Important?

All of the well-known style manuals ultimately serve the very same set of purposes, although they were each developed for a particular niche. The goals of these style manuals are both explicit and implicit:

  • Following a style guide ensures consistency throughout a document, in this case an essay.
  • Consistency ensures that reader's understand precisely what the writer is talking about, without exerting any effort on figuring that out. Clarity is especially important in academic writing.
  • By using a style guide within a certain discipline, you show that you understand the rules within that discipline. This adds credibility to your voice as a writer. You have done your homework, have ideally bought the style manual, and are part of the "in group".
  • Sticking to a certain style guide makes it easier for relevant parties to check your references, which they can then use to perform further research.

Students are increasingly asked to refer to style guides at all levels, including in high school. In this case, formatting your essay correctly, in accordance with the right style manual, serves two additional purposes:

  • You'll lose points if you don't do it right, offering you an additional reason to do your research.
  • Getting used to these formats prepares you for further education. If you are in high school, it prepares you for college-level writing. If you are an undergraduate student, it prepares you for academic work at the graduate and post-graduate levels.

Can you start an essay with a book title?

Yes, you can start an essay with a book title. This is a valid stylistic choice, but you will always want to consider your introduction carefully.

How do you write a book title in handwriting?

Students sometimes ask whether it is acceptable to underline book titles instead of italicizing them. This practice indeed stems from a time in which most students wrote their essays by hand. Although it has largely fallen out of practice now, you can still underline a book title if you are handwriting your essay.

How do you write a book title and chapter in an essay?

You should mention the chapter title first: "Rat" from Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Consult the relevant style manual to ensure you get the formatting right.

Can you shorten a book title in an essay?

Yes, you can. Reference the full title the first time you mention it (for example: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things ). The next time you mention the book, you may simply refer to Furiously Happy .

Related posts:

  • How to Write the Date in MLA Format
  • How To Write A Movie Title In An Essay
  • Someone Walked Over My Grave - Meaning and Origin
  • 14 Tips to Help you Write An Essay Fast
  • Go Pound Sand - Meaning, Usage and Origin
  • How to Write a DBQ (APUSH) Essay?

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FAQ: When should I italicize the title of a source in citations?

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In APA Style 7th edition, the source is italicized:

  • The journal/magazine/newspaper titles are italicized.
  • Article titles are not italicized.
  • Book titles are italicized. 
  • Chapter titles are not italicized.
  • The title of the artwork is italicized.
  • The title of the webpage is italicized.

For more information, see the APA Style's Reference Examples This link opens in a new window .

Longer works like books, journals, etc. should be italicized and shorter works like poems, articles, etc. should be put in quotations. For example, a book title would be placed in italics but an article title would be placed in quotation marks.

Chicago Style

The titles of major works like books, journals, etc. should be italicized (this also includes legal cases and some other special names) and subsections of larger works like book chapters, articles, etc. should be put in quotations. For example, the title of a legal case would be placed in italics but a book chapter would be placed in quotation marks.

More Information

  • MLA Guide  (Shapiro Library) 
  • APA Guide  (Shapiro Library)
  • Chicago Style Guide  (Shapiro Library)

Further Help

This information is intended to be a guideline, not expert advice. Please be sure to speak to your professor about the appropriate use of italics and quotation marks in your class assignments and projects.

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To access academic support, visit your Brightspace course and select “Tutoring and Mentoring” from the Academic Support pulldown menu.

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To access help with citation and more, visit Academic Support via modules in Brightspace:

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Do You Italicize Book Titles?

Kathy Edens

Kathy Edens

Titles

Back in the day, before the internet and blue underlined words meant links to other websites, students were taught to underline the titles of books, magazines, plays, songs, movies, and other titled works. Nowadays, people expect underlined words to be links that take them to even more informative content, so the rules have changed.

Now, in most instances, you italicize book titles, songs, and other full-length works like movies. However, you’ll still find some style guides that require writers to put them in quotation marks. It makes sense to always determine how you’re expected to designate titles of works.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of style and who you’re writing for should tell you the style guide they adhere to, like The Chicago Manual of Style or the AMA Manual of Style . There is no one singular source that governs how to handle titled works. It’s up to you to find out if your source uses the AP guidelines which dictate quotation marks around book titles or another style guide that italicizes.

What if your source doesn’t specify a style guide?

What if a source you’re citing doesn’t italicize published works, default ways to quote books, plays, articles, songs, etc., final thoughts.

Some publications don’t adhere to one style guide over others. If that’s the case, you can ask the editor what his or her preference is, or you can simply pick one way and stick to it across all articles and content. It’s more about consistency than following a style, so if you italicize a book title on page 12 of your article, you better italicize another book title on page 23 later on.

As a writer, your job is to be consistent so you turn in the most professional looking copy across all fronts. Editors will go through your content and make sure you’re consistently using italics or quotation marks for published works titles, but it makes their jobs easier if they’re only looking for the occasional divergence rather than having to implement the correct style from scratch.

Again, it comes down to consistency. If a source you’re citing doesn’t italicize published works, but you’ve chosen that style for your content, you need to stick with it.

For example, say you’ve researched online sources through your library and are referring to the classic book Gone With the Wind . You’re using italics to designate published works in your content, but the source you’re citing uses quotation marks. Stick with your style choice, not the source’s. In this case, regardless of how the source you’re citing sets published works apart, you’ve used italics, so that’s what you stick with.

Italicize longer published works. Use quotation marks for shorter works like chapters, articles, poems, etc. Here are a few examples.

We read A Raisin in the Sun in English class this year. (Title of a play.)

The Wall Street Journal article, "NASA Opens Space Station to Tourists and Businesses," is fascinating. (Title of a publication is italicized while an article in it is set off by quotation marks.)

If you haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame , you’re missing one of the best superhero movies out there. (The title of the movie is italicized.)

I thought the chapter, "Why Mornings Matter (more than you Think)," in The Miracle Morning for Writers was the most powerful. (Chapter titles are set off by quotation marks while book titles are italicized.)

Save underline in your digital content for links to other websites. Don’t confuse readers by underlining book titles as well.

Instead, italicize the titles of published works, and put shorter works in quotation marks. (Unless you’re following the AP Style Guide; they don’t use italics.)

To sum it up, follow the style guide your editor recommends. If he or she doesn’t have a style guide, choose one way and follow it consistently across all your work. Present your most professional work by sticking to a single style; only amateurs are all over the place.

do you italicize book titles in an essay title

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Kathy Edens is a blogger, a ghost writer, and content master who loves writing about anything and everything. Check out her books The Novel-Writing Training Plan: 17 Steps to Get Your Ideas in Shape for the Marathon of Writing and Creating Legends: How to Craft Characters Readers Adore... or Despise.

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The Write Practice

Do You Italicize Book Titles? And Other Title Conundrums

by Alice Sudlow | 41 comments

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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?

And for goodness' sake, what should you do with pesky things like TV shows, short stories, or YouTube videos?

Do You Italicize Book Titles? And Other Title Conundrums

With so many different kinds of media, it's easy to get lost in all the rules. Plus, the rules can vary depending on which style guide you use. The Modern Language Association (MLA) follows a certain set of grammar rules, APA style another, and the Chicago Manual of Style outlines yet another. It's important to determine which style guide you'll use, then follow the rules for that specific style.

The good news is, when it comes to the use of italics, MLA, APA, and Chicago style share many commonalities. Let’s demystify these italics, shall we?

One Rule of Writing Titles

There are two ways we typically indicate titles: by italicizing them, or by putting them in “quotation marks.” We’ll get into the nuances of each in a moment. But let’s start off with one core principle:

Italicize the titles of works that are larger, like the titles of books, albums, and movies. For shorter works, like a journal article title, song title, or a poem title, use quotation marks.

For example, you would italicize the name of the book, like Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets , but you wouldn't italicize the book chapter titles, like “The Worst Birthday” and “Mudbloods and Murmurs.” Chapter titles go in quotation marks.

For some kinds of media, like book titles, the rules are clear. For others, like YouTube videos, they’re a little fuzzier.

Whatever kind of media you're working with, examine it through this principle: italics for large works; quotation marks for small or shorter works.

This principle will help you navigate those areas of uncertainty like a pro.

When Do You Italicize a Title?

Always italicize the titles of larger works such as books, movies, anthologies, newspapers and magazines. Additionally, newer media, such as vlogs and podcasts, may be italicized.

What are other examples of large works? I’m glad you asked.

A large work might be:

  • A book , like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  • A movie , like The Dark Knight
  • An anthology , like The Norton Anthology of English Literature
  • A television show , like Friends
  • A magazine , like The New Yorker
  • A newspaper , like The New York Times
  • An album , like Abbey Road

This principle holds true for newer forms of media, too, like:

  • A vlog , like Vlogbrothers
  • A podcast , like This American Life

The short answer: Do you italicize book titles? Yes.

When Do You Use Quotation Marks?

What do anthologies, TV shows, magazines, newspapers, vlogs, and podcasts all have in common? They’re all comprised of many smaller parts.

When you’re writing the title of a smaller work, put it in quotation marks. A small work might be:

  • A short story , like “The Lottery”
  • A poem , like “The Road Not Taken”
  • An episode of a TV show , like “The One With the Monkey”
  • An article in a magazine or newspaper , like “Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years”
  • A song , like “Here Comes the Sun”
  • An episode of a vlog , like “Men Running on Tanks and the Truth About Book Editors”
  • An episode of a podcast , like “Just What I Wanted”
  • A webpage , like “Do You Italicize Book Titles? And Other Title Conundrums”

What About a Series of Books?

It's straightforward enough to capitalize the title of a standalone book, like Moby Dick or Pride and Prejudice . But what if you're referencing a book series?

In this case, each individual book title is italicized: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone , Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets , etc.

The title of the series, though, is not italicized: the Harry Potter series.

What About Punctuation?

Do you italicize commas? Question marks? Exclamation points?

If the punctuation is part of the title, then yes, it too is italicized. For instance, every comma in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is italicized.

If the punctuation is not part of the title, though, be sure to turn off italics before you type it! Here's an example:

“What do you think of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe ?” “I love it! Also, Oklahoma! is one of my favorite musicals.”

Note that in the first example, the question mark is not italicized. In the second, the exclamation point is italicized because it's part of the title of the musical.

Do You Underline Titles? And Other Ways to Indicate Titles

We haven’t always used italics to indicate titles. 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.

As our communication evolves, so has our ways of indicating titles. If you’re writing a post on Facebook, for instance, there’s no option to italicize or underline. In situations where neither is an option, many people use ALL CAPS to indicate titles of larger works.

Be Clear and Consistent

Here’s the secret: in the end, all these rules are arbitrary anyway, and different style guides have developed their own nuances for what should and shouldn’t be italicized or put in quotation marks. If you're writing something formal, remember to double-check your style guide to make sure you're following their guidelines.

Remember, though, that ultimately, the only purpose for these rules is to help the reader understand what the writer is trying to communicate. Do you italicize book titles? Whatever you’re writing, whether it’s a dissertation or a tweet, be clear and consistent in the way you indicate titles.

If you hold to that rule, no one will be confused.

Are there any kinds of titles you’re not sure how to write? Let us know in the comments .

Need more grammar help? 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. Also, be sure to use my coupon code to get 20 percent off: WritePractice20

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Your prompt: two friends are discussing their favorite media—books, podcasts, TV shows, etc. Write their conversation using as many titles as you can (and indicating them correctly!).

Pro tip: to italicize a title in the comments, surround the text with the HTML tags <em></em>.

Write for fifteen minutes . When you’re done, share your practice in the Pro Workshop here , and be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers!

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Alice Sudlow

Alice Sudlow is the Editor-in-Chief of The Write Practice and a Story Grid certified developmental editor. Her specialty is in crafting transformative character arcs in young adult novels. She also has a keen eye for comma splices, misplaced hyphens, and well-turned sentences, and is known for her eagle-eyed copywriter skills. Get her free guide to how to edit your novel at alicesudlow.com .

10 Obstacles to Writing a Book and How to Conquer Them

41 Comments

RAW

In the movie, “Gone with the Wind”, Rhett Butler said, “Frankly Scarlet, I don’t give a damn!”

(Note: I was unable to use italics in this comment section…. Oh well!)

R. Allan Worrell

Alice Sudlow

You’re running into that same problem that’s prompted the use of all caps on Facebook, and that used to standardize underlining titles: when technology makes it difficult to use the notation you want! That’s a fantastic quote nonetheless.

Alice –

Oh God! The problem with tech! Can you just imagine having a last name with 25 or 30 characters? Many Indian names (from India) are that large, and I would imagine some hyphenated names come close.

“Do not fold, spindle, or mutilate!” ha, ha, ha!

That line was printed on IBM punch cards… way before your time! I never did learn what the word “spindle” meant! ha, ha.

Do you know of any other tech “gotcha’s”???? I think this is a fun subject!

Cheers Alice!

R. Allan Worrell Author: Father John’s Gift

Molly

Though it seems content is really more important that the rules of conventions, I am glad to see others are as concerned about accuracy as I am. That said, take note that “Gone With the Wind” should be “Gone with the Wind.” Articles, prepositions, and conjunctions are not capitalized in titles.

I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this! I love thinking through all the nuances of tricky grammar rules and style guidelines, and I’m glad I’m not the only one.

You’re right about Gone with the Wind —according to Chicago style, prepositions aren’t capitalized. In general, though, on The Write Practice we lean towards AP style for title capitalization. That means capitalizing words with four or more letters, regardless of their part of speech. Thanks for pointing that out!

nancy

Most of this is what I thought. We used to underline; now we italicize.

However, what do you do when you’re talking about a newspaper as a company: I got a job at The Washington Post. Also, What about sayings: My mother always used to say, all’s well that ends well. My mother is not saying this now, so I can’t use quotes. Would I italicize?

PJ Reece

We have the option of adding “that”: My mother used to say that all’s well that ends well.

Wordwizard

Your mother used to say “All’s well that ends well.” with quotation marks being appropriate whether or not she’s alive. We still quote Mark Twain with quotation marks, and his death is no longer exaggerated.

Thank you, Wordwizard.

Karon

I wouldn’t italicize a company name, but I don’t know if there is generally a rule that dictates that.

I think there is a difference between Macy’s and The Washington Post. One is a publication; the other is not. And therein lies my question.

Davidh Digman

In Australian English at least, the main issue is context. If you mean The Washington Post as a company, then you use roman. If you mean The Washington Post as a publication, then you italicise.

That’s how I would do it too.

You’ve gotten some great answers below; I’ll just jump in to offer my confirmation.

In Chicago style, the company The Washington Post is not italicized: “She works for The Washington Post.” The publication is italicized: “I read an article in The Washington Post .”

As for the saying, you would put it in quotes. For instance: “All’s well that ends well,” as my mother used to say. You’re still quoting your mother, even if it’s not something she’s saying right now, so you would use quotation marks.

Books get treated one way, and short stories another, but where do novellas and novelettes fall? What if you are unsure which of the four slippery categories something falls within? A children’s picture book is the length of a short story—

Because a children’s picture book is a complete book, and because it is usually bound as a book, you do need to italicise its title. Remember also that the pictures are an inherent part of a children’s picture book, so if each picture adds a thousand words…

Under the standards for Australian English, the main consideration for formatting titles is whether the story is bound on its own or as part of a greater work.

So if your novella or novellette is published on its own, then the title should be formatted as a novel. If published as a part of a collection or anthology, it should be titled like a short story.

The categories as defined by the Hugo Awards categories (which I follow as I write speculative fiction) are below. I have sourced these from the Hugos website:

Novel: A story of forty thousand (40,000) words or more. Novella: A story of between seventeen thousand five hundred (17,500) and forty thousand (40,000) words. Novelette: A story of between seven thousand five hundred (7,500) and seventeen thousand five hundred (17,500) words. Short Story: A story of less than seven thousand five hundred (7,500) words.

Thank you, David. However, I need to know American conventions (British would be good, too.). Also, sometimes the same work is published both as a children’s book, and as a story in a larger work. What then?

I cannot actually tell you those conventions, but I do know that US English uses The Chicago Manual of Style which has an online portal.

British English uses The Oxford Manual of Style.

For works that have been published both alone and also as part of a greater work, I would recommend either using the style that relates to how you are citing the work. Alternatively, I would say you are free to choose whichever best suits your current need.

Davidh’s given some great answers, so there’s not a lot I can add.

Not sure about Chicago style, but MLA style (Modern Language Association style, used for research in literature and the humanities) would have you italicize the names of novellas and novelettes that have been published separately. For instance, Heart of Darkness is a novella, but because it’s been published as its own work, you would italicize the title.

If they have been published as works within a collection or anthology, you would indicate the title with quotation marks, as you would with a short story or poem.

Children’s books may be short, but they’re definitely books, their own complete works. Those titles are italicized.

If a novella or novelette has been published both independently and in a collection, I would err towards italicizing the title. Some anthologies, like The Norton Anthology of English Literature , include works of all lengths, even entire novels and plays. So if a novella has been published separately, I would italicize it, even if it appears elsewhere in a collection.

Obviously, some of these guidelines get dicier as I go along. I’d recommend checking out a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style or searching the manual online (you’ll need a subscription, though). Also, as you write, you can establish your own style to handle these nitty-gritty nuances. As all these style manuals indicate, the intricacies of indicating titles are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.

Hope that helps!

I only just finished editing several stories of a friend of mine, and I spent a lot of time struggling with italics. If it’s a name of a ship, do you italicize it? What about a government Act? e.g. Would you use italics the way I do in this sentence? “The government passed The Underwater Basket Weaving Act ?

Under Australian English at least, ship’s abbreviations are NOT italicised, but ship’s names are. So in HMAS Condamine, HMAS (“Her Majesty’s Australian Ship”) should be in roman, and Condamine should be in italics.

Very useful. Thanks again.

Again, in Australian English, the rules for Acts and Ordinances of Parliament are a little less simple than many other things.

Our Acts and Ordinances have short formal titles that are approved within the legislation.

The first time you refer to the Act or Ordinance within a work, you need to use the full title (exactly as defined within the Act, including the year, any articles, prepositions, etc.) in italics. Subsequent references need to be in roman text and may (as in optionally) omit the year.

You do not use quotation marks.

So the first time you mention it, it should be in italics: Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (sorry, I’m unsure how to put in italics here).

Subsequent mentions within the same work should be in roman text but can omit the year: Acts Interpretation Act.

I am not sure whether these standards apply outside of Australia, but they may be a good starting point for research into the proper form for your local English.

By the way, the Acts Interpretation Act is a real Act under Australian Law. It defines the rules on how to interpret other Acts of the Australian Parliament. I once wrote a short humour piece about it for a newspaper here.

That sounds reasonable. Thank you!

You are welcome! I enjoy this sort of thing!

Those are great questions, Karon—and those are the kinds of nitty-gritty things that make style rules like this complicated. Davidh’s given you great answers.

As he says, ships’ abbreviations aren’t italicized; their names are: USS Enterprise .

As far as I can tell, Chicago style would have you italicize the name of an act. The “the” isn’t part of the name, though, so it would look like this: the Underwater Basket Weaving Act .

This guide doesn’t cover every instance (like the two you brought up), and it’s a little out of date, but I still find it a helpful place to start when I’m wondering what italicize.

Thank you! I’m going to save your article and the one at the link.

Andressa Andrade

Hi, Alice! This is a great post! I have always had doubts about that. I think I used to use quotation marks (for everything) in the past, but lately, I have been using italics (again, for everything). I don’t remember why I changed. But your rule is very simple and makes sense to me, so I think I am adopting it from now on. Thank you very much!

I have another doubt about titles: do you capitalize every word in a title? Or just the first word? Maybe every word, except for prepositions and conjunctions? I’d love to read a post about that!

Hi, Andressa! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

That’s a great question about titles, and there are a lot of different answers—different style guides say different things. Here’s a quick summary:

– Always capitalize the first word in a title. – Always capitalize the last word. – Capitalize all the important words.

That last point is where things get dicey. Chicago style does NOT capitalize articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. AP style DOES capitalize all words of four letters or longer.

I sometimes cheat and use an online title capitalization tool like this one to capitalize titles for me.

You’re right—there’s more than enough material for a post here. I’m taking note! 🙂

Hi! Thank you very much for replying! I’m taking notes here. Thank you for the helpful link, too! I’ll keep an eye out for a post on the topic. 😉

Thank you for this handy reminder.

The standards you describe appear identical to those used in Australian English.

Most national Englishes have their own standards, so it is important to know which authority is accepted for your own version of English.

So for Australian English, the official standard is the Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers published by Wylie. I understand that the Sixth Edition (published 2002) is still current.

The Style Manual is accepted by the Australian Government and various authorities to be the official standard for Australian English. It is a dry, but to me, nonetheless fascinating resource. I keep a copy on or next to my desk at all times.

This is very interesting. I’m not British, but we use British English in my country. I wonder if there is a style manual I can access.

I understand British English uses The Oxford Manual of Style. You may want to Google local retailers.

That’s so true—it’s important to follow the style guide for your type of writing. In the United States, we use several different style guides depending on the discipline and purpose of writing. AP style is used in journalism, for example, and Chicago style is used by book writers. Even between styles, there can be dramatic differences; check out this comparison of AP and Chicago style . (It’s a little out of date, but but still helpful.)

For this post, I’ve focused mainly on Chicago style guidelines for indicating titles. But of course, for any kind of formal writing, you’ll want to double-check the style guide that’s relevant to you.

Elizabeth Westra

Can titles of long or large works like books be in bold instead of italics? I often use italics to indicate thoughts. Is this the right way?

You’re not alone in using italics to indicate thoughts; that’s a very common way of writing them. When you write the title of a book within those thoughts, it’s actually not italicized for contrast:

I’ve never read Gone With the Wind , but maybe I should , she thought.

If you’re writing something less formal, like a post on your own blog or a letter to a friend, you could choose to use bold instead of italics. Just remember to be consistent within that work so that your readers understand that’s what you’re doing, since it’s not how we’re used to seeing titles.

I was taught to put titles of major books in bold, but has that changed to italics now?

TerriblyTerrific

I usually use quotation marks. It makes it easier. Thank you. This was really helpful!!

You’re welcome! I’m glad it’s been helpful.

Marilynn Byerly

I tend to type book titles in caps when I’m writing for emails, email lists, and various forms of promotion because a huge amount of time, the italics disappear. Sure, it’s wrong, but it beats having the book title disappear in a sea of text.

Alejandro Lamothe Cervera

Thanks for sharing, my mother language, as you probably already noticed is not English, I published my first novel (in Spanish) and now I want to publish it in English, one of the first things I have to decide is if I use Italics, Capitalize all or it or what :-(. The title is “TAU 6 AND THE INVASION” it is a 300 pages science fiction novel. Can you make any recommendations? Best regads

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How To Write Book Titles The Proper Way: A Complete Guide For Writers

  • February 10, 2022

Book titles within essays or papers can be tricky. There are specific rules that are given for how to include a book title in a way that sets it apart from the content of your writing given by the Modern Language Association. However, as with many other things in life, there are exceptions to the rules. This article will guide you through the rules of the writing style guides so that you can include a book’s title in your paper or essay correctly.

How to write book titles:

Style guides and book titles.

When it comes to book titles within text, there are a few different style guides that have rules you can follow, depending on your writing type. The three types that you will encounter most often are; MLA style, Chicago manual of style, and APA. A writing instructor will usually tell you what style guide you are expected to use for a particular essay or paper.

MLA Style Guide

The MLA handbook states that you should always italicize book titles when styling book titles within your text. The exception to this rule are religious texts. You would not italicize the Holy Bible or the sacred books or titles of other religions. Note the following example.

Pam had stayed most of the summer indoors, re-reading her favorite book series. She was already up to  Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone , and she didn’t regret not being more active or going outside.

In the above example, the book title is italicized. Fiction titles and nonfiction titles alike must be in italics when within the text.

Series Titles in MLA

In the above example, a book from a series was used. But what if the text had not specified which book from the series Pam was reading? Would it still need to be in italics? The answer is: in this case, yes. In other cases, sometimes.

It’s really not as confusing as it seems. When you are talking about a book series but don’t want or need to include the complete series titles for the purposes of your work, you only have to put words in italics that also appear in the book titles. So, because  Harry Potter  is part of the title of all of the books in the series, you would italicize his name every time you mention the book.

However, if you were talking about Katniss Everdeen, you would not have to do this, as the book series she is featured in doesn’t use her name in the titles of  The Hunger Games  series. The same would be true of books like the Nancy Drew books.

Quotation Marks

There are instances in which titles should be placed inside of quotation marks within a paper or essay. This is done when you cite the titles of poems , a chapter title, short stories, articles, or blogs.

How To Write Book Titles

So, for example, if you were to write a paper that featured a poem from a book, you would put the book title in italics and the poems cited in quotation marks.

An example of an enduring love poem is “Annabel Lee” from  The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. 

Chapter Title

Another time that quotation marks should be used is when using the title of a chapter. If you are citing a specific chapter of a book, you would enclose the title of the chapter in quotation marks, and the title of the book should be in italics.

The desperation and sadness of a man on death row can be seen in the “Wild Wind Blowing” chapter of Norman Mailer’s  The Executioner’s Song. 

Short Stories

Short stories are another case. Much like the title of a chapter or poem, in which the title is placed in quotation marks, while the title of the book or collection it is found in is italics. The same can be said for sections, stories, or chapters cited within a literary journal.

Stepping away from his norm of horror and gore, Stephen King writes of trust, love, and regret in his story “The Last Rung on the Ladder,” which can be found in his short story collection  Night Shift. 

Punctuation Marks

If you are citing a story or title that includes question marks, you need to make sure to italicize the question mark when citing. Keep all punctuation, such as a question mark, comma, ellipses, colon, or exclamation mark, as it is in the original individual books.

If you want a funny and irreverent read, you’ve got to try  Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea.  Chelsea Handler has done a phenomenal job of being vulgar, relatable, and explaining life from her viewpoint in this hilarious and memorable book.

The Digital Age: Are Book Titles Underlined Anymore?

MLA style used to dictate that a book title should either be in italics or underlined. However, that is no longer the case. As computers started to take over as the major tool used in writing, it became unpopular to underline book titles. Therefore, this rule was dropped from the style guides.

However, it should be mentioned that when handwriting an essay or research paper, many instructors prefer that you underline book titles, as it’s relatively difficult to handwrite italics. If you are in a writing course or a class that is heavy on handwritten work, be sure to ask your instructor or teacher which method they prefer for citing a book title.

How To Write Book Titles

How to Come Up with Book Title Ideas

Now that quotation marks, italics, and style guides have been discussed, let’s move on to how you can come up with your own book title. If you’d like a title for your book that sounds interesting and will get a reader’s attention, you may find this article helpful.

Coming up with a good title for your book is a challenging yet essential marketing decision . The right title can make your target audience choose your new book off of the shelf instead of another writer’s work. Your book cover and your book title are quite possibly the most important marketing decisions you will make.

How to Choose a Good Book Title

Certain criteria should be met if you want to have a good book title , and there are specific steps involved in getting there. You may have assumed up until now that titles of books were just spur of the moment decisions made by authors or publishers, but a lot of work goes into writing good titles.

Grab the Reader’s Attention

As a general rule, you want your reader to remember your title and to sound interesting, even without the reader having seen the cover. There are several ways to do this. You can be a little dark with your title, be controversial, provoke the reader, or even be funny.

There are many examples of such works that use memorable and attention-seeking titles. The following are some different titles that are effective and would most likely provoke a reader to grab them from a shelf for closer inspection.

  • Burn After Writing (Sharon Jones)
  • Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (Mindy Kaling)
  • Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea (Chelsea Handler)
  • The Devil Wears Prada (Lauren Weisberger)
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul (various authors)
  • God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian (Kurt Vonnegut)

Shorter Titles

If your full title for your book is long, you may end up boring a reader or creating a situation where a reader tries to remember the title of your book, but it’s too long and ends up getting it confused with another book. Although you should always do your best to make sure that there aren’t books by other authors that share a title or have a title similar to your book (more on that in a minute), you don’t want a person to get confused and get the wrong book instead.

Research Your Title Ideas

It’s a good idea to take the titles you have considered for your book and make a list. Then, do your homework. You can use tools like Google Adwords to test out your title to see if there are others like it, or you can simply use any search engine and plug your title ideas into the search bar and see what similar or exact titles of the same words pop up.

Readers are generally busy people. They don’t have the time or the energy to ensure that writers get a title right. They’ll look for the book they are interested in, and if it proves to be too difficult, or if there are other books written that have the same title, they’ll move on to something else.

A writer really has to make sure that they have a title that isn’t going to be ignored, is interesting, isn’t too long, and isn’t too similar to other works.

The same goes for titles of short works within a larger body of work. Short works, like poems or stories, need to have unique titles as well when included in a larger body of work, such as a collection. If stories are similar in nature, be sure to title them differently so that readers will be able to tell them apart, as well.

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Let’s Clear This Up: Should You Underline Or Italicize Book Titles? 

If your teachers taught you to underline book titles , it probably didn’t make sense to argue. 

Plus, underlining is just easier when you’re writing things out by hand. 

Not so with texting — or when you’re writing a book of your own.

When you reference your sources, do you underline or italicize book titles?

Are novels italicized or underlined?

And does it matter whether a novel or novelette is part of an anthology ? 

What are the rules worth remembering? 

The Basics: Do You Underline or Italicize Book Titles?

Some exceptions to the rule: should you underline or italicize book titles, punctuating book titles, book title italics or quotes .

  • Do You Italicize Books Like The Lord of the Rings? 

Do You Italicize the Titles of Sacred Books?

What does the ap stylebook recommend.

If your main question is “Do I underline book titles or italicize them?” most style guides recommend the following guidelines: 

  • If you have italics as an option, use it. 
  • If not, underline. 
  • If underlining isn’t an option, use asterisks or under-slashes to set off titles. 

That last one is the way to go when you include a book title in a text message or social media post or comment, where you can’t apply any kind of text formatting. 

Underlining can be problematic with digital text (websites, digital apps, and ebooks) since we now associate it with hyperlinks, even if the font color matches the text around it. 

Probably the most common scenario, when you can underline but not effectively italicize, is when you’re writing something by hand. While you could switch to cursive mid-sentence, underlining is less likely to be dismissed as a random quirk. 

Plus, underlining is easier than cursive. 

We’ve already mentioned one exception to the rule favoring italics. Handwriting makes underlining easier and more obvious. 

Another exception is when you’re submitting text through a web form, which doesn’t allow text formatting (much like texting and social media posts). 

A third exception involves chunks of italicized text that include a book title. In this case, you’ll want to keep the title unitalicized to make it stand out. 

Keep these exceptions in mind when someone asks you, “Do you italicize book titles?” Because they do matter. 

There’s one final exception, which we’ll revisit at the end of this post, and that has to do with the particular style guide you may be using. 

So, what do you do if you’re italicizing a book title and you have to add punctuation — like an apostrophe to show possession — that isn’t part of the title? Do you treat that differently from the punctuation that the author included? 

For the sake of clarity, we keep any added punctuation (apostrophes, dashes , ellipses, etc.) — anything not native to the original title — in regular, non-italicized text. 

Examples: 

  • “Looking at the books stacked nearby, I saw that Blink ’s cover was slightly creased from its days in my purse.”  (The apostrophe-s ending is not italicized because it’s not part of the title.)
  • “She just finished reading Salem’s Lot , and she’d rather not talk about it. Give her time.” (In this case, the apostrophe-s at the end of Salem is part of the title and is italicized.) 

So, are all book titles italicized? And what about titles for smaller works like short stories, magazine articles, and blog posts? 

To keep the rule as simple as possible, ask yourself whether the title in question is for a published container — like a blog, a website, a magazine or scholarly journal, or a complete book — or for something that would be contained. 

Would you find this title on the cover of a finished whole (an album, the cover image for a podcast, etc.) or in a table of contents or a list of songs, poems, or podcast episodes? 

Larger works get the italics treatment, as you’ll see in the following examples:

  • Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • Back in Black (album) by AC/DC
  • Live Bold and Bloom (blog)
  • Authority Self Publishing: Marketing, Writing, and Kindle Publishing Tips (podcast)

Smaller works that a larger work could contain get quotation marks. It’s not about which one is more important; it’s about making it easier for readers to tell them apart. 

When you see a story title in quotation marks, you’re more likely to think, “Oh, that must be a short story?” Find a book of short stories and check out the table of contents, and you’ll find quotes around each story’s title. 

Each is a smaller part of the whole collection, which bears an italicized title of its own.  

Do You Italicize Titles of Novels and Books Included in Anthologies? 

So, what about Reader’s Digest Condensed Books (1950-1997) — or Reader’s Digest Select Editions (since 1997)? 

Each of the works included are abridged versions of completed books and novels. 

If you’re looking up some options on Amazon, you’ll see quotation marks around the titles of the books and novels included in each hardcover edition. 

It’s tempting to think the abridgment of the title is the reason for this. But collections like Reader’s Digest editions aren’t the only ones that do this—even when the titles in the collection are unabridged originals. 

Read on for another well-known example.

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Do You Italicize Books Like The Lord of the Rings ? 

Books like LOTR bring together separate books that are all part of a complete series. In LOTR’s case, the complete set is a trilogy with the following titles: 

  • The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Two Towers
  • The Return of the King

If the book you’re referencing in your own writing is a separate title with its own cover, you’ll italicize the title in-text citations and in your bibliography. 

But if you’re using the complete LOTR trilogy under one cover, you’ll set off any of the enclosed titles with quotation marks — as if they were separate parts of a larger book. 

The same rule applies to other books that include all the titles in a specific series. 

While we do italicize specific editions of sacred books (e.g., The New King James Bible ), we do not generally italicize or underline the generic titles of sacred religious texts: 

  • The Bible (and individual books in the Bible)
  • The Koran / Qur’an and The Hadiths
  • The Vedas and the Upanishads
  • The Tanakh and the Talmud
  • The Tipitaka (Buddhism)

As for the specific books inside the Christian Bible, if you’re referencing a specific verse, you’ll include the name of the book (or an abbreviation), along with the chapter and verse, and text formatted the same as the text around it (e.g., Matt 3:5 or 2 Corinthians 4:16). 

Not all style guides recommend italicizing book titles; the AP Stylebook uses quotation marks instead, maybe just to simplify things.  

That said, publications like Writers Digest use the AP Stylebook but choose to italicize their book titles in deference to their own house rules. 

Whether you go that route will likely depend on what you or your client wants. 

If you’re thoroughly confused right now, the main thing to remember is that in most cases, the rules described above will help you correctly format any book titles you reference in your own writing. 

  • If it’s a container (book, album, podcast, TV series, etc.), use italics.
  • If it’s contained by a container (poem, TV episode, song, etc.), use quotation marks.

When in doubt, check your style guide.  And if you’re writing for someone else, ask them what they prefer or consult their chosen style guide. 

Whatever rules you go with, be consistent. 

Now that you know how to answer the question, “Do you underline book titles or italicize them?” which points stood out for you as most helpful? And what have you learned that you want to remember? 

Should your novel title be underlined and/or italicized? Learn the rules of writing book and novel titles and if these titles have to be underlined and italicized as you read in this post.

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  1. 3 Simple Ways to Write Book Titles in MLA

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  2. 3 Simple Ways to Write Book Titles in MLA

    do you italicize book titles in an essay title

  3. Italiques ou citations? Comment ponctuer les titres

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  4. Title Emphasis: Italicizing, Underlining, and Added Quotation Marks • 7ESL

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  5. What Kinds of Titles Are Italicized?

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  6. 3 Simple Ways to Write Book Titles in MLA

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COMMENTS

  1. MLA Titles

    Use quotation marks around the title if it is part of a larger work (e.g. a chapter of a book, an article in a journal, or a page on a website). All major words in a title are capitalized. The same format is used in the Works Cited list and in the text itself. Place in quotation marks. Italicize.

  2. If a book title within an essay title is not italicized in the source

    Yes. A title within a title should be styled according to the guidelines in section 1.2.4 of the MLA Handbook, regardless of how a title within a title is styled in the source. For example, the title of an essay about Gone with the Wind is styled in EBSCOHost as follows: "Painfully Southern": "Gone with the Wind," the Agrarians, and the Battle for the New South

  3. How to Write a Book Title in Essay [Examples]

    Some teachers may require you to use APA style and others MLA style. There are some rules on how to quote a book title in an essay. You should use italics and quotation marks when writing book titles in essays. For example: "The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II." When writing a book title in APA Style, you should be ...

  4. Do You Italicize Book Titles? MLA, Chicago Manual, and APA Rules

    If there is a colon (:) in the title, the first letter after the colon is also capitalized. Proper names in titles are always capital. Titles of books, magazines, journals, and newspapers are always italicized. Titles of articles or book chapters are not italicized. The title of the webpage is always italicized.

  5. How to Write Book Titles in Your Essays

    Exceptions to the Rule. The rule for writing book titles in italics applies specifically to running text. If the book title is standing on its own, as in a heading, there's no need to italicize it. Additionally, if the book is part of a larger series and you're mentioning both the title of the series and that of the individual book, you can ...

  6. Title

    A colon separates the title from the subtitle unless it ends in a question mark or exclamation. Titles should be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks. Titles that are independent and self-contained (e.g., books) and titles of containers (e.g., anthologies) should be italicized.

  7. Punctuation with Titles

    Titles and Subtitles. Section 1.2.1 of the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook says, "Use a colon and a space to separate a title from a subtitle, unless the title ends in a question mark or an exclamation point. Include other punctuation only if it is part of the title or subtitle.". The handbook provides the following examples:

  8. How to Write a Book Title in MLA Formatting

    In MLA style, book titles are italicized, as so: Henry Thorough argues in Walden that the best life is lived in deliberate simplicity so as to discover what life truly is about. In fact, most style guides, including MLA and Chicago style, require book titles to be italicized, not underlined. If the book title has a subtitle, the subtitle should ...

  9. Use of italics

    Titles of book series. the Harry Potter series. The punctuation mark after an italicized word or phrase or between elements of a reference list entry (e.g., the comma after a periodical title or issue number, the period after a book title) Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 128(6), 510-516.

  10. How to Write a Book Title in an Essay: Rules and Tips

    Book titles: Italicize the title of books in essay (here, we mean larger works, not chapters or articles). Do not underline them, and avoid using quotation marks. Use capitalizing for only the first word of the title, proper nouns, and the first word after a colon or em dash. Example: A tale of two cities. Author names:

  11. APA Style

    Book titles are italicized and written using sentence case (only the first word of a title, subtitle, or proper noun are capitalized). Book chapter titles are written using sentence case and are not italicized. Journal titles are italicized and written using title case (all the important words are capitalized).

  12. Do You Italicize Book Titles? Essay Secrets Revealed

    One exception is when you have a book that is a collection of various novel titles, like Lord of the Rings. In this case, you'd put the title of the specific books in quotation marks, but you'd keep the title of the collection in italics. Additionally, when the word "the" is part of a title, you do not italicize it.

  13. When writing a paper, do I use italics for all titles?

    On an APA-style reference page, the rules for titles are a little different.In short, a title you would italicize within the body of a paper will also be italicized on a reference page. 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 without italics and quotation marks on the references page.

  14. How to Write a Book Title in an Essay (MLA, APA etc.)

    Heart of Darkness ). Place the name of a single chapter in quote marks, instead ("The Great Towns" from Condition of the Working Class in England by Friedrich Engels). APA. Italicize the book title. Capitalize the first letter, the first letter of a subtitle, and proper nouns.

  15. Italics and quotation marks

    Italics and quotation marks are used to draw attention to text. For example, italics are used to draw attention to key terms and phrases when providing definitions and to format parts of reference list entries (e.g., titles of books and periodicals). Quotation marks are used to present linguistic examples and titles of book chapters and ...

  16. FAQ: When should I italicize the title of a source in citations?

    For example, a book title would be placed in italics but an article title would be placed in quotation marks. Chicago Style The titles of major works like books, journals, etc. should be italicized (this also includes legal cases and some other special names) and subsections of larger works like book chapters, articles, etc. should be put in ...

  17. Should Book Titles Be Italicized or Underlined?

    Don't confuse readers by underlining book titles as well. Instead, italicize the titles of published works, and put shorter works in quotation marks. (Unless you're following the AP Style Guide; they don't use italics.) To sum it up, follow the style guide your editor recommends. If he or she doesn't have a style guide, choose one way ...

  18. Do You Italicize Book Titles? And Other Title Conundrums

    One Rule of Writing Titles. There are two ways we typically indicate titles: by italicizing them, or by putting them in "quotation marks.". We'll get into the nuances of each in a moment. But let's start off with one core principle: Italicize the titles of works that are larger, like the titles of books, albums, and movies. For shorter ...

  19. How To Write Book Titles The Proper Way: A Complete Guide For Writers

    The answer is: in this case, yes. In other cases, sometimes. It's really not as confusing as it seems. When you are talking about a book series but don't want or need to include the complete series titles for the purposes of your work, you only have to put words in italics that also appear in the book titles. So, because Harry Potter is ...

  20. Let's Clear This Up: Should You Underline Or Italicize Book Titles?

    If you have italics as an option, use it. If not, underline. If underlining isn't an option, use asterisks or under-slashes to set off titles. That last one is the way to go when you include a book title in a text message or social media post or comment, where you can't apply any kind of text formatting. Underlining can be problematic with ...