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Italics vs Quotation Marks in Titles


Generally and grammatically speaking, put titles of shorter works in quotation marks but italicize titles of longer works. For example, put a “song title” in quotation marks but italicize the title of the album it appears on.

Titles in Italics

(source type: example)

Books: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
Magazines/Journals: Newsweek or Cave Canem
Newspapers: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Pamphlets: How to Take Your Own Blood Pressure
Movies/Plays/Musicals: The Producers or Two Trains Running or Hamilton
Long Poems: The Odyssey or The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Radio/TV Program: This American Life or Game of Thrones
Ballet/Dance: Les Sylphides or Rodeo
Operas/Musical Pieces: La Traviata or Rhapsody in Blue
Paintings/Sculptures: Mona Lisa or The Burghers of Calais
Ships/Planes/Trains: Titanic or Air Force One or the Mistral
Musical Albums: A Hard Day’s Night
Computer/Video Games: Minecraft, Fortnite
Web Sites: Facebook, Wikipedia

Titles in Quotation Marks

(source type: example)

Articles/Essays: “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
Book Chapters: “Legal Issues and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome”
Short Stories: “Fly Already”
Short Poems: “At Black River”
Songs: “Can’t Buy Me Love”
Radio/TV Episodes: “Rookie” from Queen Sono

Works Needing Capitals But Not Italics or Quotation Marks

(source type: example)

Music in Number or Key: Prelude and Fugue in E flat Major
Sacred Writings: Bible or Koran or Bhagavadgita
Editions or Societies: Kittredge’s Shakespeare or Anglo-Norman Text Society
Diseases: Tay-Sachs disease (but not cancer, polio, leukemia, etc.)
Acronyms: FBI, NAACP, GIF
Conventional Titles: U.S. Constitution or Declaration of Independence
Student’s Paper Title: Role of the Djinns in Islamic Belief

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