Formatting titles gives some writers a headache. Should the title of songs, stories, movies, books, screenplays, etc. be in italics or quotes? When you’re trying to remember if you’re supposed to use underlining or italics or quotation marks for titles, here are a few simple rules from Writer’s Relief.
Remember that people used to type their work or write it longhand. When titles needed to be italicized, italics were represented by underlining. These days, many people avoid underlining to minimize confusion between words that are underlined and hyperlinks.
3 Simple Tips For Properly Formatting Titles Of Books, Stories, Poems
1) Underlining and italics serve the same purpose. Never do both. Do NOT use quotation marks, underline, or italics together.
2) For any work that stands on its own, you should use italics or underline. (Stories or chapters from within a book are considered PARTS of the book.)
3) A work that is part of a larger work goes in quotation marks.
Quick Formatting Style Guide For Your Titles
Books: Italics or Underline
CDs: Italics or Underline
Articles (Newspaper or Magazine): Quotation Marks
Chapter Titles (not chapter numbers): Quotation Marks
Magazines, Newspapers, Journals: Italics or Underline
Names of Ships, Trains, Airplanes, Spacecraft: Italics
Poems: Quotation Marks
Short Stories: Quotation Marks
Song Titles: Quotation Marks
Special Phrases (“let them eat cake”), Words, or Sentences: Quotation Marks
Television Shows and Movies: Italics
Television and Radio Episode Titles: Quotation Marks
Knowing when to use quotes, italics, or underlining can be tricky. Writer’s Relief proofreaders can help you proofread your creative writing submissions to be sure your titles are properly formatted.
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The English language is hard, man.
Esperanto is a lot better. I suggest looking into it.
That is false, you actually may use both quotes and italics. In certain cases of course.
Thannks! Needed help quickly and got it here 😀
this was a really nice resource for writing a paper that drew on multiple types of resources, thanks. only thing I didn’t find was formatting for movies!
Samuel is correct. You may underline, italicize, or put a quotation mark around the desired title of a book. Many people, (at first,) used to underline the titles of books. People now tend to italicize or put a quotation mark around a title of a book.
Whenever possible, italicizing book titles is a must. However, on social media, we prefer to use ALL caps; we may be in the minority for that—according to a recent poll by Grammar Girl: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/formatting-titles-twitter-and-facebook
Thanks! I have a huge test tomorrow and needed to get some quick study time in.
Formatting needs to adjust for social media, italics aand underline doesn’t work across platforms…. we’re living in the internet age still ruled by the before Internet age period. As of yet unnamed. Please some one fix this and also think of a name. Thx
what about sculptures paintings etc?
jj, sculptures and paintings would be italicized.
Great information, thank you. Do you know how webinar titles should be formatted? Thanks you in advance.
TF, webinar titles should be italicized.
Do you italicize or use quotation marks for the titles of publishers?
Neither. The publisher’s name is just initial capped.
Do all of these rules apply to only books or do they apply to screenplays as well?
Very helpful article!
Thanks a bunch!
What if I’m typing the title of a song and quoting what someone said about that song in the same sentence? Is it okay to put quotation marks around both the song title and what the person said? I know it’s grammatically correct but it just doesn’t look right and seems confusing.
The correct way to do it is to put both in quotation marks. If you gave a list of song titles in a sentence, each would be in quotation marks, so having multiple sets of items in quotation marks in one sentence is not uncommon.
Hi, if i want to quote a sentence for text evidence and the author underlined a word in that sentence, then do I have to underline that word when I quote also? Thank You
In copying quoted material, you should follow the extract exactly.
What about albums/EP names? Quote or italics for those?
Per the Chicago Manual of Style, titles of music albums are italic.
Hi! How would you format a quote from a short story from a series? Would you put the series in italics, but the story title itself in quotes?
Would this be appropriate?
“‘Your cases have indeed been of the greatest interest to me,’ I observed.” – Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, “The Red-Headed League”
Is the title of a film series e.g. Star Wars put in italics or quotes?
The name of a specific film is in italics. The name of the series itself doesn’t use italics or quotes. Hope this helps!
Okay so this sentence The author said “James Joyce’s Dubliners is a circular analysis of stagnation and entrapment leading to both individual and collective death in a dead city.” Am I suppose to italicize that or leave it as be? It was in an article.
“Dubliners” is the title of a book, so it would be italicized. If the sentence is in quotation marks, it doesn’t need to be italicized.
I’ve been looking but I can’t find any rules around referring to a blog in copy. Does anyone know the rule for this? The context is as follows>
Joe also writes a blog: Good Grammar
Titles of blogs are in italics.
Hello, I would like to subscribe for this weblog to take latest updates, so where can i do it please assist.
You can sign up for our mailing list here: https://writersrelief.com/submit-write-now/
I realize this isn’t really about quotation marks, but I get the distinct impression you know your stuff. Perhaps you can answer this question for me. I do transcription and we don’t use italics. Instead, we use quotation marks. Here is the sentence causing me grief:
“Hi, I’m from “Fern”.”
According to the guidelines I need to follow, Fern has to be in quotations because it’s a magazine title. However, this just doesn’t look right to me. It is correct? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
We can’t really speak toward your particular case, since typically a magazine title would be in italics. Your company follows its own guidelines, so the guidelines we follow wouldn’t really apply. You could consider putting the magazine title in all caps, or using single quotations within the double quotations.
What would you suggest for musical works that are numbered, for example:
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony? Should ‘Fifth Symphony’ be in italics or quotes, or just in normal type?
The title of a musical work is italicized. Whether there is a number in it has no relevance.
If you were to write the name of a charity, would you italicize, underline, or put it in quotation marks.
We recommend checking the Chicago Manual of Style for a definitive answer.
If I am referencing the title of a research paper or special assignment that I wrote, do I put it in quotation marks, or possibly capitalize the first letter in each word? For example:
“The Impact of Globalization on the Global Economy”
We recommend checking the Chicago Manual of Style for a definitive answer.
If one character is in dialogue with another and is quoting an extract from for example a Shakespeare play, should the quote be in italics? e.g. “I love the quote ‘I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space’.”?
You would seem to have it correct!
This advice is about a year late, but I never did see an answer for you. Use single quotation marks inside the double quotation marks.
“Hi, I’m from ‘Fern.’” Periods and commas are always inside quotation marks.
I have a paper on gender. I am trying to figure out what to use for the Me Too and Times up campaigns?