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Knowing When To Underline Or Italicize: Your Go-To Guide

Knowing-When-To-Underline-Or-Italicize-Your-Go-To-Guide

Knowing when to underline or italicize can be confusing. But it doesn’t have to be! In this article, we’ll lay out all the basics, plus a few common difficulties that confuse many writers, so you’ll be an expert in no time.

At the end of the article, you’ll get the chance to practice your hand at some sample sentences, so you’ll be sure that you know the ins and outs of using italics and underlines.

Italics Vs Underline: Clarifying The Confusion

In the past (before computers and MLA handbooks), italics and underlines were used to emphasize certain words or titles within the text. It let the reader know what was important, or what was separate from the rest of the sentence. They were both used interchangeably, as long as they were consistent.

Now, with the ability to change formatting with the click of a button, italics are generally used to indicate titles, and only sometimes for emphasis. Meanwhile, underlining is mostly reserved to replace italics in handwritten papers. Manuals and guidebooks, such as the MLA handbook, are now widely used in large institutions or according to the country’s standards, so that specific writing conventions, grammar rules, and formatting styles have become uniform.

With that said, the general rule is that italics are used for titles of books, movies, TV and radio shows, magazines, works of art, and long poems. As mentioned before, underlining is a substitute for italics when writing titles by hand.

should the title of my essay be underlined

Proper formatting in an essay can be confusing for many students: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-blue-blazer-holding-white-paper-3727468/

Titles of long works.

Titles that should be italicized are longer works. These include titles of books, movies, TV and radio shows, journals and magazines, and long poems. In the next section, we’ll see how these works differ from titles of shorter works which are put in quotations instead.

  • The novel Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, was published in 1847 under the pen name of Currer Bell.
  • The movie Home Alone , released in 1990, made a worldwide total of $476,684,675 in box office revenue.

Titles Of Smaller Works

The titles of smaller works are put in “quotations” in order to differentiate them from longer works. These smaller works include titles of chapters, short stories, TV or radio show episodes, articles, and short poems.

In the examples below, note how you can recognize the difference between the shorter works and larger works just by seeing how they are emphasized in the sentence. This makes it impossible to confuse the title of a chapter with the book that it belongs to, or the episode from its TV show.

  • The chapter entitled “The Castaway” in Moby Dick describes the near-death experience of a character named Pip.
  • Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” was originally published in a Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine.
  • The pilot episode of Friends , which was released on September 22, 1994, is called “The One Where Monica Gets A Roommate.”

Punctuation In Titles: Common Confusions

Question marks.

Confusion can come up when a title includes a question mark or an exclamation mark in the title itself. For example, the book Who Has Seen the Wind? includes a question mark in it.

The way to deal with these titles is to italicize the question mark as well, just as it is above. By doing so, you can differentiate this title from an actual question, such as writing: Have you read Gone With the Wind ?

The same idea applies to exclamation marks — for example, the movie Mamma Mia! , which includes an exclamation mark in the title. Note the italicization, and the difference between writing Mamma Mia! , the movie, and writing: I can’t believe that you never watched The Parent Trap !

Commas and periods

The confusion of commas and periods when it comes to quotations is a debate between different handbooks and countries. According to the MLA (Modern Language Association) handbook, commas and periods are placed inside of quotation marks.

  • “The Seinfeld Chronicles , ” the first episode of Seinfeld , had 15.4 million viewers in America.
  • Among the short stories of James Joyce included in the collection Dubliners are “Araby , ” “The Sisters , ” and “The Encounter.”

should the title of my essay be underlined

Solidify your new skills by completing practice sentences: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-wearing-black-and-white-stripe-shirt-looking-at-white-printer-papers-on-the-wall-212286/

Let’s practice.

Try your hand at your new skills! Below are five sentences without any italics or quotations. Italicize the longer works and put the shorter works in quotations. If you get stuck, check back in the article, and you’ll be an expert in no time. Be sure to pay attention to tricky commas, periods, and question marks.

  • The Lazy Controller, chapter two of Thinking Fast and Slow, talks about multitasking and its effect on thinking.
  • The Yellow Wallpaper, a short story by Catherine Perkins Gilman, was originally published in The New England Magazine in January 1892.
  • John Lennon’s album Imagine included favorites such as Gimme Some Truth, How Do You Sleep?, and, of course, Imagine.
  • The premiere episode of Family Matters is called The Mama Who Came To Dinner, and relays the drama of Carl’s mother coming to live with him.
  • The short story Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway was first published in a magazine called Transition, and was only later published in his book Men Without Women.

Why Is Proper Indentation Important?

College essays  .

No matter what you study in college, most students write a lot of essays during their school years. While some degrees may put more of an emphasis on writing proper essays , most teachers and professors will expect a certain level of basic grammar and formatting knowledge. Before you even step foot into college, you’ll most likely be expected to write an application essay . It’s important to put your best foot forward, and small formatting rules can go a long way in making a good first impression.

Landing your dream job  

In addition to college essays, prospective employers and job positions will require and look for basic (or advanced, depending on the position) writing skills. Whether you think your dream job requires writing skills or not, writing is a part of everyday life and work, from emails and text messages, to presentations and reports. Having good writing skills will help you make a good first impression, land your dream job, and do your best work.

should the title of my essay be underlined

Proper writing is an important skill for any job: https://www.pexels.com/photo/writing-notes-idea-class-7103/

Having a successful career.

Though different students earn a degree for different reasons, many are hoping to work toward a successful career. In order to do this, the right preparation is key. Preparation may be earning a degree, gaining specific skills, or having the right guidance along the way.

University of the People prepares our students for successful careers by providing program advising , mentorship , and an emphasis on career development . We know that these extra details, much like formatting in an essay, make a big difference for the future success of our students. University of the People is a tuition-free online university that offers degree programs in business administration, computer science, health science, and education.

Wrapping Up

Now you know when to underline or italicize, and much more. To wrap up, italics should be used for the titles of longer works such as movies, books, and TV shows, and underlining for handwritten papers.

In addition, we hope you’ve learned the more tricky rules such as question marks and commas, and that you’ve given some thought to the importance of writing for your future education and success.

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MLA Style Guide

  • How Do I Format My Paper?
  • How Do I Format My Works Cited Page?
  • In-Text Citations
  • Using Numbers

Guidelines for Formatting your Paper

  • Double space your paper including the header and the Works Cited
  • Use Times New Roman, size 12.
  • Leave only one space after punctuation marks at the end of sentences.
  • Use italics for the titles of books or magazines. Enclose poems or articles in quotation marks.
  • Create a header on the first page of your paper, which is right justified your last name and page number.  
  • your teacher’s name
  • the name of the class (AP US History)
  • the date your paper is due. (Day-Month-Year)
  • Skip a line between the header and the title.
  • The title should define the assignment or the topic of the paper. It should not be the title of the book, poem, essay, or short story about which you are writing. Your title should not be bolded, underlined or italicized. Type your title in the same font, size, and style as the rest of your paper.

If you are not sure whether your paper is formatted correctly, talk to your teacher or a librarian!

Example of a Properly Formatted Paper

  Example of an MLA Formatted First Page

On page two, and all subsequent pages, number your pages on the top right hand side of your paper with your last name and page number. The page header should appear on every page of your paper except the first page. 

  Example of MLA Formatted Second and Subsequent Pages    

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MLA Titles | How to Format & Capitalize Source Titles

Published on April 2, 2019 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on October 24, 2022.

In MLA style , source titles appear either in italics or in quotation marks:

  • Italicize the title of a self-contained whole (e.g. a book, film, journal, or website).
  • 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.

When you use the Scribbr MLA Citation Generator, the correct formatting and capitalization are automatically applied to titles.

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Table of contents

Capitalization in mla titles, punctuation in mla titles, titles within titles, exceptions to mla title formatting, sources with no title, abbreviating titles, titles in foreign languages, frequently asked questions about mla titles.

In all titles and subtitles, capitalize the first and last words, as well as any other principal words.

What to capitalize

What not to capitalize, receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting.

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

  • Academic style
  • Vague sentences
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See an example

should the title of my essay be underlined

Use the same punctuation as appears in the source title. However, if there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon and a space, even if different (or no) punctuation is used in the source.

Example of a work with a subtitle

The exception is when the title ends in a question mark, exclamation point or dash, in which case you keep the original punctuation:

Sometimes a title contains another title—for example, the title of an article about a novel might contain that novel’s title.

For titles within titles, in general, maintain the same formatting as you would if the title stood on its own.

Titles and names that fall into the following categories are not italicized or enclosed in quotation marks:

  • Scripture (e.g. the Bible, the Koran, the Gospel)
  • Laws, acts and related documents (e.g. the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution , the Paris Agreement)
  • Musical compositions identified by form, number and key (e.g. Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5 in C minor, op. 67)
  • Conferences, seminars, workshops and courses (e.g. MLA Annual Convention)

Sections of a work

Words that indicate a particular section of a work are not italicized or placed within quotation marks. They are also not capitalized when mentioned in the text.

Examples of such sections include:

  • introduction
  • list of works cited
  • bibliography

Introductions, prefaces, forewords and afterwords

Descriptive terms such as “introduction”, “preface”, “foreword” and “afterword” are capitalized if mentioned in an MLA in-text citation or in the Works Cited list, but not when mentioned in the text itself.

Example of descriptive term capitalization

In-text citation: (Brontë, Preface )

In text: In her preface to the work, added in a later edition, Brontë debates the morality of creating characters such as those featured in Wuthering Heights .

If there is a unique title for the introduction, preface, foreword or afterword, include that title in quotation marks instead of the generic section name when referencing the source in the Works Cited list or an in-text citation.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

For sources with no title, a brief description of the source acts as the title.

Example of a source reference with no title

Follow these rules for capitalization:

  • Capitalize the first word
  • Capitalize proper nouns
  • Ignore other MLA rules for capitalization

There are some exceptions to this general format: descriptions including titles of other works, such as comments on articles or reviews of movies; untitled short messages, like tweets; email messages; and untitled poems.

Exceptions to general format for sources with no title

If you need to mention the name of a work in the text itself, state the full title, but omit the subtitle.

If you need to refer to the work multiple times, you may shorten the title to something familiar or obvious to the reader. For example, Huckleberry Finn for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn . If in doubt, prefer the noun phrase.

If the standalone abbreviation may not be clear, you can introduce it in parentheses, following the standard guidelines for abbreviations. For example, The Merchant of Venice ( MV ) . For Shakespeare and the Bible , there are well-established abbreviations you can use.

When you abbreviate a title, make sure you keep the formatting consistent. Even if the abbreviation consists only of letters, as in the MV example, it must be italicized or placed within quotation marks in the same way as it would be when written in full.

Abbreviating very long titles in the Works Cited list

Titles should normally be given in full in the Works Cited list, but if any of your sources has a particularly long title (often the case with older works), you can use an ellipsis to shorten it here. This is only necessary with extremely long titles such as the example below.

In the Works Cited list, if you are listing a work with a title in a language other than English, you can add the translated title in square brackets.

Example of a reference with a translated title

If you are using the foreign-language title in the text itself, you can also include the translation in parenthesis. For example, O Alquimista ( The Alchemist ) .

You don’t need to include a translation in your reference list or in the text if you expect your readers to be familiar with the original language. For example, you wouldn’t translate the title of a  French novel you were writing about in the context of a French degree.

Non-Latin script languages

For works in a language that does not use the Latin alphabet, such as Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, or Russian, be consistent with how you mention the source titles and also quotations from within them.

For example, if you choose to write a Russian title in the Cyrillic form, do that throughout the document. If you choose to use the Romanized form, stick with that. Do not alternate between the two.

Yes. MLA style uses title case, which means that all principal words (nouns, pronouns , verbs, adjectives , adverbs , and some conjunctions ) are capitalized.

This applies to titles of sources as well as the title of, and subheadings in, your paper. Use MLA capitalization style even when the original source title uses different capitalization .

In MLA style , book titles appear in italics, with all major words capitalized. If there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon and a space (even if no colon appears in the source). For example:

The format is the same in the Works Cited list and in the text itself. However, when you mention the book title in the text, you don’t have to include the subtitle.

The title of a part of a book—such as a chapter, or a short story or poem in a collection—is not italicized, but instead placed in quotation marks.

When a book’s chapters are written by different authors, you should cite the specific chapter you are referring to.

When all the chapters are written by the same author (or group of authors), you should usually cite the entire book, but some styles include exceptions to this.

  • In APA Style , single-author books should always be cited as a whole, even if you only quote or paraphrase from one chapter.
  • In MLA Style , if a single-author book is a collection of stand-alone works (e.g. short stories ), you should cite the individual work.
  • In Chicago Style , you may choose to cite a single chapter of a single-author book if you feel it is more appropriate than citing the whole book.

The title of an article is not italicized in MLA style , but placed in quotation marks. This applies to articles from journals , newspapers , websites , or any other publication. Use italics for the title of the source where the article was published. For example:

Use the same formatting in the Works Cited entry and when referring to the article in the text itself.

The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition , published in 2021.

This quick guide to MLA style  explains the latest guidelines for citing sources and formatting papers according to MLA.

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Gahan, C. (2022, October 24). MLA Titles | How to Format & Capitalize Source Titles. Scribbr. Retrieved February 15, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/titles/

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should the title of my essay be underlined

Formatting Titles

by Purdue Global Academic Success Center and Writing Center · Published October 2, 2020 · Updated November 5, 2020

should the title of my essay be underlined

Let’s face it: For whatever reason, formatting titles can be confusing, especially if you think about all the titles that need proper formatting–the title placed on the title page of a paper, the title of a journal article mentioned in the body of a paper, the title of a newspaper or a website on the list of references. There are titles of books and titles of chapters in those books; titles of blogs and titles of blog entries. Some titles are italicized and some are put in quotation marks. Titles on the list of references require formatting–some titles use title case, some sentence case; some titles are italicized and some are not. And then there are those situations where titles are used in in-text citations–some titles are truncated and italicized; some are put in quotation marks–you get the idea. 

First off, I am not going to address how to format titles when citing in the paper or listing on the list of references—those are formatting guidelines for another time. I am going to focus on titles on the title page, the first page of the paper, and within a paper. Here is what you need to keep straight:

Titles require special capitalization called title case. Title case requires one to

  • capitalize the first letter of the first and last words of a title;
  • capitalize the first letter of all verbs;
  • capitalize all words of four or more letters;
  • capitalize the first letter of all other words except a, an, the, short conjunctions such as “for, and, but,” and prepositions of fewer than four letters (words like “up, in, off”);
  • capitalize the first letter of a word following a colon or dash;
  • capitalize the first letter of a subtitle. 

When a title appears on the title page of an APA Style 7th edition student paper, that title should be centered, bolded, and in title case—no need to use all caps, no need to italicize or underline, and no need to use quotation marks or place a period at the end. 

Simply type out the title using title case and bold it–that’s it.

On the first page of the essay, center and repeat the title, bold it, and use title case. Again, do not use any special formatting. Do not use a bigger font size or style. Do not underline or italicize and so forth. Just use title case, bold, and center the title on the first page of the essay.

Easy enough, right?

Titles that appear within an essay require special formatting in addition to title case. If the title is for an article—content that is part of a greater whole—then the title should have quotation marks around it. If the title is for a book, journal, newspaper, or some other whole work, then the title is italicized.

Let’s say you have an article titled “The New Coffee Culture” that appears in the journal Studies in Popular Culture . Let’s also say that for whatever reason, you name both titles in the body of your paper. The article “The New Coffee Culture” appears in the journal Studies in Popular Culture , so the article is content that appears in a greater whole, right? 

Both titles would be in title case. The article “The New Coffee Culture” would have quotation marks around it, and the title of the journal, Studies in Popular Culture , would be italicized. 

I hope this blogcast clarifies exactly what you need to do when formatting titles in typical usage situations in APA style. 

Until next week–

Kurtis Clements

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Titles: when to italicize, underline, or use quotation marks.

Titles are everywhere; we need them in order to be able to refer to any of the countless stories, pictures, blogs, movies, books, songs, and other works of art being created every single day.   Since most writing is about things you’ve experienced- things you’ve read, seen, heard, or touched – chances are very high that you will be including a title of something one day in your writing.

Before that happens, though, you need to know the rules that govern how to correctly write titles.  And when I say “titles,” I’m not referring to forms of addressing people.  Although I’m sure there are specific rules of etiquette that govern when to call someone “Miss” or “Ms.,” the rules I will be describing in this post apply to works of art, like books and music.

When it comes to titles, you can either italicize them or put them in quotation marks.  The 7th edition of the MLA Handbook eliminates underlining (underlining is still acceptable when hand-writing papers). Skip to the end of this post to see a note about underlining titles .  Keeping the rules for italicizing and using quotation marks straight isn’t easy, which is why there are different techniques that make remembering when to do what easier.

Big Things and Little Things

One way of looking at titles is to determine if it belongs to something that is big or something that is little.  A big thing is something that contains little things .  For example, a CD album contains many songs.  A book contains many chapters.  An anthology contains many essays or stories.  A web site contains many web pages.  A TV series contains many episodes. You get the point. 

Once you’ve determined if the title you’re trying to punctuate belongs to a big thing or a little thing, you can punctuate it.  The titles of big things are always italicized, while the titles of little things are placed within quotation marks.  The following are some examples of properly punctuated titles:

  • Words Fail Me is a book with a chapter “Are Your Eggs Ready to Hatch?”
  • The first episode of first season of the British television series Black Books is called “Cooking the Books.”
  • “Head Over Feet” is a song on Alanis Morissette’s third studio album Jagged Little Pill.

As nice as the “big things/little things” trick is for remembering how to punctuate titles, it stops working when it encounters more complex collections of art.  For example, how do you punctuate the titles of the plays you bought in a book called The Collected Plays of William Shakespeare ? Are they considered chapters? They are little things inside of a bigger book, after all.  What about Beowulf?  It’s a poem, which is a little thing, but the MLA Handbook says that poems which are “long” need to be italicized.  What exactly does “long” mean and how are you going to remember to include those poems in with big things?

Don’t toss the towel in yet on this whole punctuating titles business – I’ve come up with a different way to remember whether or not to italicize or put a title in quotation marks.

Can You Buy It?

If you can go out and physically buy a copy of whatever title it is you’re trying to punctuate, italicize it.  If you can’t, put it in quotation marks. 

Since you can go to Barnes and Noble and find Beowulf on the shelves, it gets italicized.  The same can be said about each one of Shakespeare’s plays; you can find them in one large collected works book OR you can find them sold individually.  What you can’t do is drop by Blockbuster and try to rent ONLY the one episode of Lost you missed .  You have to rent the DVD that has several episodes on it, one of which being the episode you missed.  Therefore, you put episode titles of television series in quotation marks. 

This idea even works for web sites and web pages.  When you buy a domain, you’re buying only up to the first .com or .org or .info (or whatever extension you chose).  So only that much of a web site gets italicized (For example, GuildWars.com or Writing Simplified ). Anything after the first extension is a sub page on the web site, and gets placed inside of quotation marks (For example, the “About Me” section of my blog or any one of the titles of my individual blog posts). 

Even this trick for remembering how to punctuate titles breaks down, though.  You can buy singles of songs and there are entire works of fiction put online for free all the time.  Taken in conjunction with the “big things/little things” technique, the “Can you buy it?” trick should help you get through punctuating at least 98% of every title you’ll encounter successfully. 

For the other 2% of titles you encounter and don’t know what to do with, well, that’s what I’m here for.  Use your professor! Don’t feel embarrassed about asking when you’re unsure about how to do something.  Chances are, your teacher won’t know the answer off the top of his/her head either and will learn something in the process of looking it up for you. 

Names of Forms, Games, Restaurants, Etc.

Style guides like those published by the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) are great sources to turn to when you need to know how to punctuate something properly for a paper. But if you’re not writing an academic paper or your writing includes topics that aren’t typically found in professional publications, they won’t provide you with the answers you need. For those issues, you have to rely on your own judgment in applying the rules because an official standard hasn’t been set.

  • Names of Forms : It’s rare for someone to cite a blank document (i.e., an unfilled-out form) so examples of this in published peer-reviewed literature are scarce. However, webpages and print documents refer to form titles when indicating that such and such a form needs to be filled out, or explaining the purpose of certain forms. Every single instance that I've seen so far simply capitalizes the first letter of each word in the form title. For example: "Fill out the Motor Vehicle Records Form to request information about a particular vehicle involved in an accident," "If you are employed in the US, you must fill out a W-4 Form," and "Make sure to fill out all shaded areas in Form I-765." Also notice that the word “Form” is in every name.
  • Names of Restaurants: I still remember when it was natural to go to a bookstore to pick up a restaurant guide.  Nowadays, you turn to the Internet for restaurant reviews and suggestions, so finding a print standard for how to punctuate the title is difficult.  As far as the online standard goes, you have the choice to either 1) capitalize the first letter of each word in the restaurant’s name or 2) italicize (or underline!) the restaurant’s name.  You would never put the name in quotation marks, though. As the restaurant is the “big” thing that includes “smaller” things like menu choices, you would put the names of dishes in quotation marks, unless it’s a general food item that’s well known. For example, “Have you been to Chili’s ? I love their chicken parmesan,” or “I’ll see you at Hula Hut. Don’t forget to order me the ‘Funky Dunky Onion Strings’.” Both examples show acceptable ways to punctuate.
  • Names of Games: Since the games themselves are the "big" thing that include smaller components, I would italicize their titles.  For example, Magic: the Gathering is a card game similar in playing style to Pokemon Trading Card Game .  I did run a quick search through a research database to see how peer-reviewed journal articles treat game titles as games are a popular topic of education-related journals. The articles I found only capitalized the first letter of each word in the game's name without italicizing or underlining it.  However, no article ever placed the game's name inside quotation marks.  With that evidence, I'd say it's a matter of personal preference whether to italicize the name or leave it unembellished.  I personally prefer the italics since it's what the rule would call for.
  • Etc.: Use your personal judgment in applying the rules or drop me a line (in a comment or an e-mail). I’ll update this list with more troublesome title issues as I’m made aware of them.

A Note About Underlining Titles

Before the advent of computers and word-processing programs, there were only two options available to you when punctuating a title: underlining or quotation marks. When computers starting to become more commonplace, a third option - italicization - was added as an alternative to underlining.

Underlining titles was viewed as necessary only when handwriting titles because it is difficult to italicize one's own handwriting - especially if you're writing in cursive. Many style manuals now omit underlining as an option, stating that computers are accessible to the majority of people living in today's society and underlining is no longer needed.

However, there ARE a couple of situations that still exist where italics is either not supported or redundant:

  • Social Media : Some social applications online (e.g., Facebook) do not support embedded HTML code, which means when adding comments you do not have the option of italicizing your font.
  • Italicized Fonts : If you enjoy using fonts other than the default Times New Roman or Calibri, you may run across lovely fonts that mimic cursive handwriting. Although it is possible to italicize those fonts even more, the difference between regular and italicized versions of the font is often imperceptible and could confuse your reader.

When you find yourself in a situation where italicizing your font is simply not an option, surround the words you want underlined with underline dashes (Shift + the dash key).  For example, I am reworking my father’s book _Dan, A Man Without Youth_ while concurrently working on my own book, tentatively titled _Online Tools for Writers_.

Good luck with your writing endeavors! If you have any questions about how to go about punctuating titles or getting around the character limitations of online programs, send them my way and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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Thank you!! I'm working on a book and the titles of CDs, movies, books, TV shows etc were giving me fits. I saw quite a few things online but your explanation is by far the most lucid (and fun to read). Great stuff!

Aww! Thanks for the kind words, Jackie! I'm glad my post helped someone :).

Thanks for the info...we started a few blogs recently and this was helpful. I am the editor (but using that term very loosely!)

What do you do about book titles that you can buy, but can't italicize- as on Facebook posts? What do you do then? Quotation marks?

Hi Anonymous! Sorry it took a while to publish your comment; Blogger wasn't cooperating these past few days. To answer your question, you would surround the title with underline dashes (press Shift + the dash key). For example, I like to watch the tv show _The Office_ and I just finished ordering the book _The Antithesis_ on Amazon.com. The reason you would use underline dashes instead of quotation marks is when italicizing titles is not an option, you revert back to the rules of our pre-word processor days. The option to italicize only became available when computers became a writing tool. Before the advent of computers, the only way a person could italicize his handwriting was to switch to cursive - but that was only an option if he were not already writing in cursive. When handwriting, the rule is to underline titles that require italicization. Most style guides mention the rule in passing, although the more common computers become, the fewer books bother to call attention to the option to underline. I can understand why as it might confuse students to know that they had THREE options when punctuating titles: underline, italicize, or enclose in quotation marks. It's even more confusing when you try and tell students that TWO of those options denote the same idea. I hope this helps!

As a teacher who needs to explain these rules often, I'm delighted by the simple clarity of the "big things"/"little things" explanation. I'm envious! Why didn't I think of this? Thanks so much!

What about the title of a form? Would you put quotes around it?

Unfortunately, forms are not addressed in any of the style guides as it's very rare for a person to what to cite something that is blank (i.e., not filled out with information) so I don't have an "official" position to refer you to when it comes to writing their titles. what I _can_ tell you is that I've been looking at how webpages and print documents refer to form titles when indicating that such and such a form needs to be filled out, or explaining the purpose of certain forms and every single instance that I've seen so far simply capitalizes the first letter of each word in the form title. For example: "Fill out the Motor Vehicle Records Form to request information about a particular vehicle involved in an accident," "If you are employed in the US, you must fill out a W-4 Form," and "Make sure to fill out all shaded areas in Form I-765." Also, I noticed that almost every form had the word "Form" somewhere in its name. Hope this helps you!

When citing a historical document, you would italicize, correct?

Hey Anonymous! You're right; you would italicize famous stand-alone historical documents (e.g., _The Articles of Confederation_, _US Constitution_, _Emancipation Proclamation_, etc. - individual articles and amendments get placed inside quotation marks) when you reference them in your text. As of the newest MLA edition, you no longer have to include well known historical documents in your list of Works Cited.

This is a wonderful site.  But here's one I don't know what to do with:  Games.  How do I refer to the game Magic that my son and his friends play?  Italicize it or put it in quotes?  I suppose the same question would arise about Monopoly and Clue and many others.  

 Hi Gary! That's a great question. Since the games themselves are the "big" thing that include smaller components, I would italicize their titles.  For example, _Magic: the Gathering_ is a card game similar in playing style to _Pokemon Trading Card Game_.  I did run a quick search through a research database to see how peer-reviewed journal articles treat game titles and the articles I found only capitalized the first letter of each word in the game's name without italicizing or underlining it.  However, no article ever placed the game's name inside quotation marks.  With that evidence, I'd say it's a matter of personal preference whether to italicize the name or leave it unembellished.  I personally prefer the italics since it's what the "rule" would call for. If you were to write about individual cards in the game, I would definitely place them in quotation marks. For example: If your opponent is drawing mana from many forest cards, I would deploy "Acid Rain" to destroy them.

Would you italicize Second Life, which is proprietary, free, open source software where people can interact with one another as avatars?

 Hi, journaleditor! Yes, I would absolutely italicize _Second Life_ as it's the official title of the entire world/gaming platform.  Don't be surprised if you see the name written as is without any extra punctuation or font effects, though, as few people conform to the rule when writing about things online.

You should do something about your double spaces after each sentence.  http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2011/01/space_invaders.html

 Hey Curt! Actually, double-spacing after periods is a convention carried over from pre-computer times when typesetters manually set and inked type for printing purposes. With the advent of proportional font faces and word-processors, double-spacing the beginning of sentences has become a matter of personal taste, not necessity. 

Is a section of a magazine titled or used in italics?

 Hi, Miriam! I would say a section of a magazine would be written inside quotation marks while the magazine title itself would be italicized. For example: I saw a great recipe I have to make for Thanksgiving in the "Food Finds" section of _Greater Living_.

i can make better websites than this trash

I'm writing a piece of fiction. Is this written correctly? John ran his finger across the names of four kings: ' The King of Great Armies,' ' The King of the Castle,' and ' The King of Nobles.' Sorry about spacing, but I'm typing this on phone. Anyway, the above are fictional Titles within a list within a piece of fiction.

Great article! Thank you. What about the name of a musical group or a popular festival/event?

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MLA Style Guide, 7th Edition: Titles

  • About In-text Citations
  • In-text Examples
  • How to Paraphrase and Quote
  • What to Include
  • Editors, Translators, etc.
  • Publication Date
  • Volume/Issue
  • Place of Publication
  • Date of Access (when needed)
  • Book with Personal Author(s)
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  • Multi-Volume Works
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  • Newspaper Article
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  • Other Common Sources
  • Formatting Your Paper
  • Formatting Your 'Works Cited' List
  • Annotated Bibliography

General Rules for Titles in Works Cited List (in progress)

In general, the title of a work is taken from the title page of the publication. Refer to section 3.6.4 of the MLA Manual for more about titles and quotations within titles. Section 3.6.5 discusses exceptions to the rules.

  • Rules for capitalizing are strict. Capitalize all principal words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.). Do not capitalize articles, prepostions, or conjunctions when they fall in the middle of a title.
  • Separate a subtitle with a colon and a space.
  • Italicize titles of larger works like books, periodicals, databases, and Web sites.
  • Use quotation marks for titles published in larger works like articles, essays, chapters, poems, Web pages, songs, and speeches.

Book titles

Book titles are italicized.

  • Writing Matters: A Handbook for Writing and Research (book)
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • All the Pretty Horses

Chapter title in a book or anthology

The book title is  italicized ; the title of the article or essay is enclosed in quotations.

Henderson, Carol E. "Refiguring the Flesh: The Word, the Body, and the Rituals of Being Loved in Beloved and Go Tell It on the Mountain ." Critical Insights: Toni Morrison . Ed. Solomon O. Iyasere and Marla W. Iyasere. Pasadena: Salem P, 2010. Print.

Beloved and Go Tell It on the Mountain (book titles) remain italicized in the article title.

Journals and Magazines

The title of the periodical (journal, magazine, or newspaper) is italicized. The title of the article or work is enclosed in quotations.

Danport, Sandra. " A Study of Malawian Households." Journal of Developing Areas ...

Gardiner, Andy. "Stanford Could Lose QB, Coach." USA Today ...

The title of the periodical (journal, magazine, or newspaper) is italicized. The title of the article or work is enclosed in quotations. Omit any introductory article in the newspaper title for English-language newspapers ( Palm Beach Post, not The Palm Beach Post ). Retain the article in non-English language newspapers ( Le monde ).

The title of the work is italicized if the work is independent. The title of the work is enclosed in quotation marks if it is part of a larger work. The title of the overall Web site is italicized if distinct from the the title of the work.

Park, Madison. "How Does a Baby Get To Be Obese." CNN.com ....

Salda, Michael N., ed. The Cinderella Project ...

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should the title of my essay be underlined

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Do You Underline Titles of Essays in Writing? Master the Rules

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Do You Underline Titles of Essays in Writing? Master the Rules

Hey there! Welcome to the world of essay writing where titles play a crucial role in capturing the attention of your readers. If you’ve ever wondered whether to underline the titles of your essays or not, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to dive into the rules and master the art of title formatting, so you can effortlessly navigate the vast sea of academic writing. So, get ready to unravel the mysteries of underlining titles and discover the best practices to make your essays shine. Let’s get started!

1. The importance of correctly formatting essay titles in writing

  • , ensures that every title in your essay stands out and follows a unified structure. Furthermore, you can enhance clarity by incorporating unnumbered lists for subtitles or subtopics, allowing the reader to navigate through your essay effortlessly. In conclusion, the significance of correctly formatting essay titles cannot be overstated. It not only captures the attention of readers but also establishes a consistent structure throughout the entire essay. By utilizing HTML tags, employing bold formatting, and incorporating unnumbered lists, you can ensure that your essay titles are visually appealing and convey the intended meaning. So, let’s embrace the power of formatting and enjoy the benefits it brings to our writing! 2. Understanding when to underline titles of essays: guidelines and exceptions

3. The evolving rules of title formatting in academic writing

4. effective strategies for italicizing or using quotation marks with essay titles, 5. navigating the use of titles in digital content: blogs, articles, and online platforms, 6. expert tips for properly capitalizing and punctuating titles in essays, 7. ensuring consistency and clarity in your title formatting throughout your writing.

  • , , etc., allows you to organize your titles into a clear hierarchy. This helps readers understand the structure of your content and easily navigate through different sections. 4. Be mindful of punctuation: Consistency in the usage of punctuation in your titles adds to the overall clarity. Decide whether you want to use end punctuation for all your titles or opt for a more minimalist approach by omitting it altogether. Whichever style you choose, ensure that it remains consistent throughout your work. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your title formatting remains consistent and clear throughout your writing, providing an organized and visually appealing experience for your readers. Remember, establishing a cohesive and professional presentation is essential in effectively conveying your ideas and engaging your audience. So, pay attention to even the smallest details in your title formatting to create a professional and polished piece of work. 8. Resources and tools to help you master the rules for underlining titles of essays

Frequently Asked Questions

Future outlook.

The precise formatting of essay titles holds a significant influence on the overall quality of your writing. Properly formatting your titles not only adds a professional touch to your work but also enhances readability and ensures consistency throughout your essay. By following a consistent format for essay titles, you can effectively convey your ideas and intentions to the readers.

First and foremost, correctly formatting essay titles helps set the tone and guide the reader’s expectations. The title acts as a glimpse into the content of your essay. By bolding the title and using a larger font size, you can immediately capture the reader’s attention and make your essay stand out. Additionally, a well-formatted title effectively summarizes the main theme or focus of your piece, providing the audience with a clear understanding of what lies ahead in the text.

Moreover, paying attention to the formatting of your essay titles allows you to maintain consistency and uniformity in your writing. Consistency in formatting not only demonstrates your attention to detail but also adds a sense of professionalism to your work. Using HTML tags to format titles, such as

In the world of writing, it is crucial to understand when to underline titles of essays. This may seem like a small detail, but it can make a significant difference in the presentation and professionalism of your work. To help you navigate this topic, here are some guidelines and exceptions to keep in mind:

  • Guidelines:
  • Always underline the title of your essay when writing it by hand.
  • When typing or using a word processing software , such as Microsoft Word, italicize the title of your essay instead of underlining.
  • Ensure that the title is centered and properly capitalized, following the appropriate style guide (e.g., MLA, APA).
  • Underlining or italicizing the title helps distinguish it from the rest of your essay and highlights its importance.
  • Exceptions:
  • If you are writing an essay within an essay, such as a quote or a reference to another work, use quotation marks to enclose the title.
  • When including titles in headings or subheadings within your essay, do not underline or italicize them. Instead, use a bold font to make them stand out.
  • Remember that different style guides may have specific rules regarding titles, so always consult the appropriate guide for your academic or professional context.

Understanding when to underline titles of essays can enhance the clarity and professionalism of your writing. By following these guidelines and being aware of the exceptions, you can ensure that your essays are presented in a consistent and visually appealing manner. Remember to adapt your approach based on the medium and style guide requirements, and you’ll be well on your way to producing polished pieces of written work!

3. The evolving rules of title formatting in academic writing

In the fast-paced world of academic writing, title formatting guidelines have witnessed a continuous evolution over time. These rules serve as an integral part of presenting research in a clear and professional manner. Embracing the ever-changing landscape of formatting norms not only demonstrates your attention to detail but also enhances the readability and credibility of your work.

To stay at the forefront of this formatting revolution, consider the following key points: – Consistency is key: Ensure that your titles are consistently formatted throughout your academic paper. From font size to capitalization, maintaining a uniform style creates a seamless reading experience for your audience. – Striking a balance: While it’s important to capture the essence of your research in a concise title, striking a balance between brevity and specificity is crucial. Aim for a title that succinctly summarizes your study while also communicating its essence to potential readers. – Capitalization matters: Traditionally, academic titles were fully capitalized. However, recent trends advocate for using sentence case, except for proper nouns and certain abbreviations. This shift allows titles to set a more natural tone and align with modern language usage.

Navigating the evolving rules of academic title formatting may seem daunting at first, but it is an essential skill for any serious researcher. By conducting thorough research on current formatting guidelines and staying abreast of updates, you can ensure that your titles make a lasting impact while adhering to the established norms. Remember, a well-formatted title is the first step towards engaging your readers and showcasing the importance of your research.

When it comes to properly italicizing or using quotation marks with essay titles, there are some effective strategies you can employ to ensure clarity and adherence to proper formatting guidelines. Consider these helpful tips:

1. Utilize italics for longer works: When referring to the title of full-length books, plays, films, or even musical compositions, it is best to italicize the title to make it stand out from the rest of the text. For example, instead of writing “Great Expectations,” it is more appropriate to write Great Expectations . This helps the title become more visually distinct and easier for readers to spot.

2. Employ quotation marks for shorter works: If you’re referencing shorter works, such as articles, short stories, poems, or individual song titles, use quotation marks to set them apart. For instance, when mentioning a poem, write “The Road Not Taken” instead of The Road Not Taken. By doing so, you create a clear distinction between the title and the rest of the text. Remember to be consistent in your use of italics and quotation marks throughout your essay to maintain uniformity.

3. Be wary of exceptions: Keep in mind that certain titles may have their own specific formatting rules. For instance, the titles of sacred texts, like the Bible or the Quran, are typically not italicized or enclosed in quotation marks. Additionally, titles written in a language different from the rest of the text may also have their own conventions. Always consult the appropriate style guide or refer to the specific requirements of your academic institution to ensure you are following their preferred formatting guidelines.

5. Navigating the use of titles in digital content: blogs, articles, and online platforms

In the vast digital landscape, titles play a crucial role in capturing readers’ attention. Whether you’re crafting a blog post, an article, or content for online platforms, navigating the effective use of titles can make all the difference. To ensure your titles stand out and resonate with your target audience, here are some valuable tips and tricks to keep in mind:

1. Understand your audience: Tailoring your titles to your specific audience is essential. Consider the language and tone that will resonate with them the most. Are they looking for informative and educational content or something more entertaining and light-hearted?

2. Use powerful words: Make your titles captivating by incorporating compelling keywords that pique curiosity and draw readers in. Words like “unveiled,” “ultimate,” or “exclusive” can add an extra layer of intrigue. Additionally, using action verbs can create a sense of urgency and encourage clicks.

3. Be concise and specific: In the digital world, attention spans are shorter than ever. Keep your titles concise and to the point. Avoid vague or ambiguous phrasing, as it may confuse or discourage potential readers. Instead, clearly communicate what readers can expect to find in your content.

4. Experiment with formats: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different formats for your titles. Consider using lists or numbered headlines to make your content appear more organized and scannable. For example, “5 Essential Tips for Writing Engaging Titles” or “Top 10 Strategies to Master Title Creation.”

By mastering the art of crafting compelling titles, you can enhance the visibility and engagement of your digital content, ensuring your message reaches a wider audience. So, get creative, experiment with different techniques, and watch your titles become irresistible magnets for readership!

In the world of essay writing, it is crucial to pay attention to the proper capitalization and punctuation of titles. Whether you are writing an academic paper or an article for a magazine, the accuracy of these details can significantly impact the overall impression of your work. To ensure your titles leave a lasting impact, here are some expert tips to help you navigate the intricate rules of capitalization and punctuation:

1. Use title case for formal titles: Capitalize the first letter of every major word in a title, including nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns. Avoid capitalizing small words like articles, prepositions, and conjunctions (unless they are the first or last word of the title). For instance, a suitable title would be “The Art of Storytelling: Unleashing the Power of Words.”

2. Pay attention to italicization and quotation marks: Different types of titles require different formatting. When referring to long works or standalone publications, such as books, films, plays, or albums, use italics. For example, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” or “The Shawshank Redemption.” Conversely, use quotation marks for shorter works like articles, poems, or song titles, such as “The Death of the Moth” or “Bohemian Rhapsody.

One of the key elements in writing is maintaining consistency and clarity in your title formatting. This not only enhances the aesthetic appearance of your work but also ensures that readers can easily navigate through your content. To achieve this, here are some useful tips to consider:

1. Use a uniform font style and size: Consistency in font style and size throughout your title formatting helps create a harmonious visual experience for your readers. Select a font that is clear and easy to read, and stick to it for all your titles.

2. Standardize capitalization: Decide on a format for capitalizing your titles and stick to it. Whether you prefer title case (capitalizing the first letter of each word) or sentence case (capitalizing only the first word and any proper nouns), choose one method and use it consistently throughout your writing.

3. Implement a hierarchy with heading levels: Utilizing HTML heading tags, such as

In the world of writing, it is essential to understand the correct way of underlining titles of essays. To assist you in becoming a master of this rule, here are some valuable resources and tools that will provide clarity and help you avoid any confusion in the future.

1. Online Writing Guides: Several online writing guides offer comprehensive explanations and examples on underlining titles of essays. These guides break down the rules, providing you with a step-by-step understanding of when and how to underline titles correctly. Look for reputable sources such as Writing Center websites or style guides from academic institutions.

2. Style Manuals: Consult style manuals that cover writing conventions, such as the Chicago Manual of Style or the Modern Language Association (MLA) Handbook. These manuals not only outline the rules for underlining titles but also provide guidance on other important writing elements. Be sure to have these manuals accessible for quick reference when you encounter uncertainties.

3. Writing Forums and Communities: Engaging in writing forums and communities can be incredibly beneficial to hone your knowledge. Participating in discussions and asking questions will connect you with fellow writers who have faced similar challenges. Their insights and experiences will prove invaluable as you navigate the intricacies of underlining titles.

4. Word Processing Tools: Utilize the resources available on your word processing software to format your titles correctly. For instance, Microsoft Word offers built-in tools for formatting essay titles, making it easy to apply the appropriate style (such as underlining) with just a few clicks.

Remember, the key to mastering the rules for underlining titles of essays lies in practice, reference, and staying informed. By utilizing these resources and tools, you will gain confidence and ensure that your titles receive the emphasis they deserve. Stay persistent in honing your skills, and soon underlining essay titles will be second nature to you.

Q: Are essay titles underlined in writing? A: No, essay titles should not be underlined. Instead, they should be italicized.

Q: What is the proper way to format essay titles? A: Essay titles should be italicized to distinguish them from the rest of the text. For example, “The Importance of Education in Society.”

Q: Why should essay titles be italicized and not underlined? A: Italicizing essay titles provides a clearer visual distinction between the title and the rest of the text. Underlining essay titles used to be the norm in typewritten or handwritten papers when italics were not available. However, with the advent of modern word processing software, italics have become the accepted style.

Q: Can I use quotation marks instead of italics? A: Quotation marks are usually reserved for shorter works like articles, short stories, or individual episodes of TV shows. Longer works like essays, books, or films should be italicized. So, it’s advisable to use italics rather than quotation marks for essay titles.

Q: Are there any exceptions to italicizing titles? A: Yes, there are some cases where italics are not used. For example, when referring to ancient texts like the Bible or The Iliad, they are usually capitalized but not italicized. However, in most contemporary writing, italics remain the preferred choice.

Q: Do the rules for italicizing essay titles apply to all forms of writing? A: The rules for italicizing titles are typically followed in academic writing, including essays, research papers, and articles. However, different style guides may have their own specific guidelines, so it’s important to consult the appropriate style guide for your document’s context.

Q: What are some commonly used style guides that provide guidelines for formatting titles? A: Some commonly used style guides include the Modern Language Association (MLA) style, the American Psychological Association (APA) style, and the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). These guides offer comprehensive rules on formatting titles and can be a handy resource for writers.

Q: Can I underline an essay title if I don’t have access to italics? A: If you’re unable to use italics in your writing (e.g., when handwriting a paper), underlining can be an acceptable substitute. However, with modern word processing software, italics are readily available, making underlining titles unnecessary in most cases.

Q: How can adhering to proper title formatting enhance the clarity and professionalism of my writing? A: Using the correct formatting, such as italicizing essay titles, helps readers easily identify and distinguish titles within a text. It conveys a sense of professionalism and adherence to accepted writing standards, thereby enhancing the overall clarity and readability of your work.

Do You Underline Titles of Essays in Writing? Master the Rules

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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!

  • Reading and Writing
  • Last Updated Jun 12, 2022
  • Views 2117199
  • Answered By Kate Anderson, Librarian

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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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Formatting Titles in Essays

Formatting Titles in Essays

  • 2-minute read
  • 8th May 2018

Handling your own headings is one thing, but how should you write the titles of other works? You need to mark them out somehow, and you have two standard options: italics or quote marks.

This is especially important in academic writing , as you’ll often have to discuss books and papers written by other people. Here, then, are some guidelines you should follow when formatting titles.

When to Use Italics

You can often spot a title from the capitalisation , but we still format titles to distinguish between different types of source. Titles of longer sources, for example, typically use italics:

should the title of my essay be underlined

Here, Kerrang! is italicised because it is the title of a magazine (i.e. a standalone work that is not one part of a larger whole). Other publications and productions that this applies to include:

  • Academic journals
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Websites and blogs
  • Films and TV shows
  • Radio programmes
  • Plays and other stage shows
  • Book-length poems
  • Paintings and other works of art
  • Music albums

The key here, then, is that italics are used for longer published works .

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When to Use Quote Marks

We use quote marks for the title of anything that doesn’t fit in the list above. Usually, this will be something that is part of a more substantial publication, such as an article from a magazine:

should the title of my essay be underlined

In this case, we see both the magazine title and an article title. Using italics on the former and quote marks on the latter makes it immediately obvious which is which. Other cases where quote marks are required include:

  • Chapters from books
  • Academic papers and journal articles
  • Articles from newspapers and magazines
  • Single pages from a website or posts from a blog
  • Individual poems and short stories
  • Single episodes of a TV series
  • Single poems from a collection
  • Songs and other short recordings

In this case, the key is that quote marks are used for shorter works . However, quote marks are also used for unpublished works regardless of length (e.g. a draft manuscript or a PhD dissertation).

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Titles in Essays (Italics or Quote Marks?)

Titles in Essays (Italics or Quote Marks?)

4-minute read

  • 26th February 2018

Formatting your own essay title is easy (just bung a Heading style on it). Unfortunately, the rules about formatting the titles of existing published works (e.g. a textbook or an article from a journal) are more complicated. Usually, though, it comes down to one question: italics or quote marks?

should the title of my essay be underlined

But most students will need to name a book, journal or website in an essay at some point, so it’s important to know how this works. To help you out, we’ve prepared this guide on when to use italics and when to use quote marks for titles.

When to Use Italics

Titles of longer works are usually italicised. A ‘longer work’ in this case is something presented as a standalone publication. Charles Dickens’ famous novel, for example, would be written as Great Expectations if it were named in an essay.

Other examples of longer works that should be italicised include:

  • Books and book-length poems (e.g. ‘An analysis of The Wasteland shows…’)
  • Journals, newspapers and magazines (e.g. ‘According to The Guardian …’)
  • Websites and blogs (e.g. ‘The project was funded via Unbound …’)
  • Films (e.g. ‘ Jaws broke several box-office records…’)
  • TV series (e.g. ‘Many fans of The X-Files claim…’)
  • Plays and other stage shows (e.g. ‘This production of Swan Lake is…’)
  • Paintings and works of art (e.g. ‘The Mona Lisa is currently housed…’)
  • Music albums (e.g. ‘The album Sticky Fingers was released in…’)

The key factor is that all of these are standalone products, not part of a greater whole. The main exceptions to this rule are holy texts, such as the Bible, which are not typically italicised.

Italics are also used for the names of particular vehicles in some cases, especially ships and spacecraft. For example, we might write about the space shuttle Enterprise or the HMS Beagle (note that the ‘HMS’ is not italicised, since this is an abbreviation).

should the title of my essay be underlined

When to Use Quote Marks

Quote marks , meanwhile, are usually saved for shorter works. These are often part of a larger publication, such as an article in a newspaper or a chapter in an edited book. For example, if we were to name a book and a chapter in one place we’d write:

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Hugh Wilder’s ‘Interpretive Cognitive Ethology’ was first published in Readings in Animal Cognition , edited by Marc Bekoff and Dale Jamieson.

As indicated by the italics, the book here is called Readings in Animal Cognition . ‘Interpretive Cognitive Ethology’, meanwhile, is an essay from the book, so we use quote marks for this title.

Cases where quotation marks are used for titles include:

  • Chapters from books
  • Articles in newspapers, magazines and journals
  • Particular pages or articles from a website
  • Individual poems and short stories
  • Episodes from a TV show

It is also common to use quote marks for unpublished writing regardless of length. For example, if you were referring to an unfinished manuscript or a PhD dissertation, you would put the title in quote marks; but if these same documents were published, you would use italics.

Look Out for Exceptions!

The guidelines above will apply in most cases, but there are exceptions. The APA style guide, for example, recommends italicising book titles in the main text of an essay, but not in the reference list. As such, it is wise to check your style guide to see if it has specific advice on formatting titles.

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Quotation Marks or Italics In Titles?

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| Candace Osmond

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

You’ve probably asked yourself while writing an essay: Should I italicize a play title or enclose it in quotation marks? What about a song title?

Don’t feel guilty for not knowing the rules for quotation marks or italics in titles . Even the most experienced writers have the same problem.

I’ll show you the basic rules for choosing between quotation marks and italics in titles. This guide features the guidelines of Chicago, MLA, and APA.

Using Italics or Quotation Marks in Titles

Using italics vs. quotation marks in titles depends on your style guide. But the general rule is to italicize long titles, such as titles of books, movie titles, or album titles.

Meanwhile, you must write titles in quotation marks for shorter pieces like musical titles, magazines, TV series, and articles. Note that the AP style does not put magazines, newspaper style, or journals in quotation marks.

Grammarist Article Graphic V2 2022 08 14T201339.353

  • “How You Feel About Gender Roles Will Tell Us How You’ll Vote” is an article worth the read.
  • My favorite song is “If I could Fly.”
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation is for readers who want to escape their stressful lives.

Works That Require Italics

Use Italics for titles such as the following:

  • Pieces with sections, such as a collection or anthology.
  • Some scientific names.
  • Computers and video games.
  • Titles of newspapers and titles of articles from newspapers.
  • Play titles.
  • Works of art.
  • Court cases.
  • Television and radio shows.
  • Episode titles.
  • Book titles.
  • Magazine articles.
  • Album titles.
  • Names of Ships.
  • Operas, musical titles, and other musical works.

Here are some examples of italicized works:

should the title of my essay be underlined

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.
  • Michelangelo’s David.
  • When Harry Met Sally.
  • Do you have a copy of Wag the Dog by award-winning author Larry Beinhart?
  • My favorite mystery book is In the Woods by the bestselling author Tana French .

The source’s title is usually italicized in a bibliography or reference list entries. But it can also depend on the source type. If you’re citing a journal article, every citation style italicizes the journal title instead of the article.

  • Asher, J. (2017). Thirteen reasons why . Penguin Books.
  • (2011). When Harry met Sally . Santa Monica, Calif: MGM Studio distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Works That Require Quotation Marks

Use double quotes for the following types of work.

  • Comic strips.
  • Article title.
  • Generic titles.
  • Short works like essays
  • Short story titles.
  • Song titles.

Remember that quotation marks come in pairs, so add both opening and closing quotation marks. Here are some examples where we use friendly quotation marks in titles:

  • “Cul de Sac” is a darkly humorous comic.
  • “Cinderella” is my favorite chapter title from the Big Blue Book .

Big Things vs. Little Things

“Big things” include a collection of novels or book series, movies, cartoon series, and other works that can stand independently. We can also consider them as complete bodies of work.

Meanwhile, the “little things” depend on other groups, so we put them in quotes.

Think of a “single” in an album title or a “book chapter” in a book title. Another good example includes “manuscripts” in collections.

Remember that this isn’t a perfect rule. But it helps writers determine whether they should quote or italicize the title of a work.

Italics vs. Quotation Marks in Style Guides

The grammar rules on italicizing or quoting titles are usually a matter of style. Take a look at the title formats’ differences among style guides.

In the Modern Language Association style guide, a quick rule is to italicize titles that are longer. Experienced writers state that these “longer works” include books, journals, court cases, etc. Ship names and other notable names are also in italics.

But for shorter works like articles and poems, MLA Style Guide recommends you format titles with double quotation marks.

Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style goes by the same basic rules as MLA. Titles of major works, such as books, and special names like a ship should be in italics. But place the item in quotation marks for subsections of larger bodies like journal articles, blogs, and book chapters.

According to the APA Style 7th edition , you should use italics for titles like journals, magazines, and newspapers. Books, artworks, webpages, and any other larger body of work also use italics.

However, writers who follow APA use the regular type of format for shorter works. These include essays or works in journal articles and lectures.

When to Not Use Italics or Quotation Marks

There’s a specific type of title that all major style guides have no recommendations for. The following do not use italics or quotation marks for titles:

  • Commercial products.
  • Political documents.
  • Legal documents.
  • Major religious books or scriptures.
  • Name of artifacts.
  • Names of buildings.
  • Constitutional documents.
  • Traditional game.

If you are formatting titles on a website, there’s no need to follow the rules on italics vs. quotation marks. You can go with any more visually appealing style since online web pages are less formal than print materials.

Prioritize the font type, size, and headings when formatting websites and web pages. Make decisions based on what will attract visitors.

When to Underline Instead of Quote or Italicize

If you write using pen and paper, italicizing works can be challenging. Many style manuals recommend underlining the source instead. It’s easier, more practical, and keeps your handwriting legible.

Final Word on Italics vs. Quotes in Titles

An easy way to remember is that most types of titles are almost always in italics. APA, MLA, and Chicago manuals of style recommend italics for longer works.

I hope this guide on using quotation marks and italics in titles helps you become a better writer. 

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Do you Underline Research Paper or Essay Titles? APA or MLA

researching an essay

While content is regarded as the most significant aspect of your research paper, the paper’s presentation is also important. This is because the presentation will determine whether the content is understandable by the reader. Errors in presentation can deviate the attention of the reader from the content of the research paper.

Titles are part of a research paper, and their proper usage can make the paper more presentable. As such, titles can be underlined, italicized, typed in bold, or put into quotation marks to emphasize particular words. This article will discuss the issue of underlining the titles of a research paper.  

Do you Underline Research Paper Titles?

You can underline research papers or essay titles if that is what your instructor wants you to do or if there are guidelines to be followed. This is because formatting styles like APA and MLA do not allow underlining of titles. Therefore, you cannot underline the titles of your paper without considering the purpose of the titles, what they are used to refer to, and so on.

should the title of my essay be underlined

Titles that can be italicized can still be underlined. At least, that’s how most of the writing guidelines, such as APA and MLA formats, require students to observe.

For example, if the title is: The Effects of Social Media on Socialization, then it can also be written as The Effects of Social Media on Socialization or The Effects of Social Media on Socialization. 

Research writing

There are times when students may be required to refer to titles of works as they are or directly within the body of their research papers.

If this is the case, then underlining should be used to emphasize the work’s title if it is allowed by the adopted style guide. 

However, for your research paper to be presentable, you should be consistent with whichever method of emphasis you employ.

For example, if you choose to underline to emphasize a working title, then you should maintain it throughout the paper. If you choose italics, then you should maintain it throughout the paper.

It should be noted that only the titles of works that are considered to be stand-alone can be underlined. Such works include magazine titles, book titles, names of conferences, and so on.

The aim of underlining a research paper title is to emphasize the work by separating it from the rest of the text. It ensures that readers clearly take note of the title without mixing it up with the rest of the text. 

As noted, you should follow the instructor’s guidelines concerning how to format the paper, including the titles, because the instructor will observe whether you have effectively followed them.

As such, your work will be gauged or graded depending on the content and the merit of the research paper. If you follow the proper guidelines, your paper will be presentable and hence will score better grades.

When it comes to the exact headings of the research paper, such papers may have level 1, level 2, level 3, level 4, and even level 5 headings or titles. As we noted earlier, underlining can be used interchangeably with italics since they are used to create emphasis.

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How to format titles in essays or research papers in:.

What should be noted here is that the term “titles” may refer to the headings of works that are used as sources. At the same time, the term may refer to the actual titles of the research paper. Therefore, we shall explore both so that every detail about formatting titles can be understood.

formatting an essay

For titles of works that would be included within the research paper, there is a difference between how you would format a title for shorter works and longer works.

You may also decide to either italicize the titles, put them in quotes, or just underline them.

For example, you may state: The second poem in the book is referred to as Athena’s Birth .

You may also decide to write: The second poem in the book is referred to as Athena’s Birth. 

As we noted earlier, the essence of underlining or italicizing titles is to create emphasis. The same case applies to titles of longer works. However, for longer works, it is advisable to italicize it because underlining a title that is too long may look unpresentable.

Additionally, titles belonging to full works such as newspapers and books should be italicized as per APA guidelines instead of being underlined within a research paper.

However, titles belonging to shorter works like articles, poems, short stories, or chapters within a book should be put within quotation marks. For book titles that are part of larger bodies of work, they should be put within quotation marks if the book series’ name is italicized. 

When it comes to formatting titles within a research paper in APA style, the titles are normally organized from level 1 to level 4 and even level 5.

Level 1 title in APA is supposed to be written in boldface, with each word capitalized except in the cases of prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, and articles. It should be noted that the first letter of the title should also be capitalized. Level 1 headings should be centered on the page.

Level 2 headings in APA style should be written in the same way as a level 1 heading. The difference is that it will not be centered on the page. It will be left justified without any indentation.

For level 3 titles, it should be written in the same way as levels 1 and 2. However, the difference is that the level 3 heading will be italicized and left-justified without any indentation. 

For level 5 headings, the title should not be italicized. However, it should be indented from the left side of the page. The unique thing about this level of heading is that instead of the text or the paragraph that follows starting on a new line below the title, it will start within the same line as the level 5 title. 

The rules regarding titles in MLA format are not that different from APA format. All words within the first title level should be capitalized. However, do not capitalize prepositions (“above,” “on,” “to,” “below,” etc.), articles (“an,” “a,” and “the”), and coordinating conjunctions (“for,” “nor,” “and,” “but,” “so,” “or,” and “yet”). 

You should follow the same rules for formatting MLA Headings in the same way as APA format. However, MLA does not include too many levels of headings because the format is used for much simpler research papers and essays. 

At this juncture, I would recommend you read our guide on how to write term papers and gather more information about titles.

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What type of Titles Should be Underlined?

The titles that can be italicized can still be underlined. That is how most writing guidelines, such as APA and MLA formats, require students to observe.

doing research

Secondly, titles that should be underlined should be works or text that requires to be emphasized.

Thirdly, you can also underline level 3 headings in either MLA or APA formats because they are normally italicized. 

Apart from underlining, essay titles can be quoted , or one can use quotes in paper titles if it is necessary to do.

But this should be in line with the formatting style you are using.

Should Essay Titles be Italicized?

The answer to this question is yes.

Essay titles can be italicized as long as they need to be emphasized, represent titles of stand-alone works, or are level 3 titles.

If a title does not meet such requirements, then it should not be italicized. You should always keep in mind that any academic work should have consistency. If you decide to italicize the aforementioned, then you should maintain it. If you decide to underline whatever was supposed to be italicized, maintain that too. 

Do You Bold Research Paper Titles?

Yes. All titles within a research paper should be in boldface, no matter their level. This will ensure that the reader separates the title from the rest of the work. 

Check out the guides on how to format essays in APA or MLA for further tips on the same. You can also

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Josh Jasen or JJ as we fondly call him, is a senior academic editor at Grade Bees in charge of the writing department. When not managing complex essays and academic writing tasks, Josh is busy advising students on how to pass assignments. In his spare time, he loves playing football or walking with his dog around the park.

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If a book title within an essay title is not italicized in the source, should I italicize it in my works-cited-list entry?

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 .

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

Since Gone with the Wind is the title of a novel, if you were to include this essay in your works-cited list, you would set it in italics instead of enclosing it in quotation marks:

Adams, Amanda. “‘Painfully Southern’: Gone with the Wind , the Agrarians, and the Battle for the New South.”  Southern Literary Journal , vol. 40, no. 1, Fall 2007, p. 58.  EBSCOHost Connection , connection.ebscohost.com/c/literary-criticism/28439869/painfully-southern-gone-wind-agrarians-battle-new-south.
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Are Essay Titles Italicized? A Guide for APA and MLA Titles

  • by Michael Smart
  • January 16, 2024
  • Custom Essay writing

Are Essay Titles Italicized

Have you ever written an essay and then question yourself whether you have used italics appropriately in the titles? Is the use of italics something that worries you to the extent of avoiding them?

Well, you are not alone because many students do not fully understand how to apply them in their essays, particularly in the titles. 

This article will explain when to use italics in your essay and how to appropriately write them. However, before exploring this, it is important to note whether essay titles are italicized or not.

Are Essay Titles Italicized?

The answer to this question depends on the type of words in the title. Essay titles can be italicized. In case you have a title that includes names of vehicles, large works, television series, or movies, you should use italics when mentioning them.

Essay titles can be italicized if the words represent a literary work or are a quote that needs to be represented in italics. Essay titles can also be italicized if all the words or some of them represent certain non-English wordings that are not in the English dictionary.

Literary words are works of literature. Titles of plays, books, and other forms of works of art should also be italicized within the title to set them apart from the surrounding text. 

When writing an essay, you will be required by your instructor to format it academically in either APA or MLA since the two formats are the most commonly used.

Instances When to Italicize Titles in an Essay

1. when words need to be emphasized within the title.

As we have noted, italics are used to set a word or phrase apart from other text within the title.

When the word or phrase is set apart, it means that the reader will easily notice it and even prioritize its meaning compared to the rest of the words.

when to italicize essay titles

Therefore, if you have a word or words that need to be emphasized within the title of your essay, you can italicize them.

There are some words or phrases that you will include in your title and you wish your readers to take note of them.

They can be part of the essay’s keywords that you might explain from a different perspective to that of the readers.

However, it should be noted that emphasizing words using italics within the title is not commonly used in academic writing. 

2. When including Publication Names in your Title

Imagine you are writing an essay in which you are required to conduct an in-depth analysis of an article or case study within a publication.

In this case, you may need to include the name of the publication within your title to instantly communicate to the reader what the paper is all about. Such publication names include:

3. Standalone Works in the Essay Title

When you are including the title of a standalone work like complete plays and books, you should italicize them. Titles of sacred texts should also be italicized when they are included in the title of your essay. This is especially the case when analyzing the complete works in your essay.

For example, if your essay is analyzing a specific Harry Potter book, the title will appear like this: Elements of Style in  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows .

When it comes to places like Romeo and Juliet, your title will look like this: Elements of Style in  Romeo and Juliet .

For sacred or religious texts like the King James Version of the Bible, the title may appear like this: Understanding the Meaning from the Language used in  King James Bible . 

4. When Writing Titles of Creative Works

In case you are required or find yourself in a situation where you need to include the title of creative work in the title of your essay, you should italicize it. This should only include titles of standalone creative works. Such include: 

5. When Using Foreign and Unfamiliar Words

In case you have an essay title that requires you to include a foreign word, you should italicize it. The same case applies to words that you are not familiar with or words that are technical. 

6. When Referring to Legal Cases

When you are writing an essay that explores or analyzes a legal case, you should include the name of the case within the title of your essay to separate it from the rest of the text. For example, “Analyzing the Outcomes of the Case of  Brown v. Board of Education ”. 

How to Write Titles in an APA Essay?

Titles in an APA essay will utilize a unique system of headings that help in classifying and separating the different sections in your essay. They take levels. Note that the aforementioned instances of italicization will still apply on the different levels. 

Writing essay Titles in APA

The first level or the main topic of your APA essay will be centered, boldface, and with a title-case heading.

Remember to capitalize the first word, all the principle words, and the last word in the title.

Avoid capitalizing prepositions (“above”, “on”, “to”, “below”, etc.), articles (“an”, “a”, and “the”), and coordinating conjunctions (“for”, “nor”, “and”, “but”, “so”, “or”, and “yet”).

The paragraph will be left justified with the first sentence indented. 

The second level of the title should not be centered on your paper.

It should be flush left or it should begin at the left side of your page with no indentation.

It should also be typed in bold with a title case heading. The paragraph will also start from the left side of your paper with an indentation.

The third level of your titles should also begin at the left side of your page with no indentation. It should be boldface with a title case heading. However, the third level of your title should be italicized. The paragraph begins from the left side of your page with an indentation. 

The fourth level of your titles should be indented, boldface, and with a title-case heading. This level is not italicized. However, it ends with a period because the text of the paragraph that follows should continue on the same line as that of the title level. 

The fifth level of an APA title should also be indented, boldface, and with a title-case heading. However, this level is italicized. It also ends with a period since the next paragraph will start on the same line. 

How to Write Titles for MLA Essay

Titles in an MLA essay have different levels with the first level being centered, boldface, and with a title, case heading. The second level should be written in the same way as the first level with the only difference being that the second level is flushed to the left side of the paper. 

MLA Essay Titles

The third level should begin at the left side of your page with no indentation.

It should be boldface with a title case heading.

The third level of your title should be italicized.

The fourth level should be indented, boldface, and with a title, case heading.

This level is not italicized. However, it ends with a period.

The fifth level should also be indented, boldface, and with a title, case heading. This level is italicized. It also ends with a period. 

In MLA, you should also capitalize the first word, all the principle words, and the last word in the title. Don’t capitalize prepositions, articles, and coordinating conjunctions.

Read our guide on how to write good essay titles to get further insight and tips that will help you sharpen your writing skills.

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This resourse, revised according to the 7 th  edition APA Publication Manual, offers basic guidelines for formatting the reference list at the end of a standard APA research paper. Most sources follow fairly straightforward rules. However, because sources obtained from academic journals  carry special weight in research writing, these sources are subject to special rules . Thus, this page presents basic guidelines for citing academic journals separate from its "ordinary" basic guidelines. This distinction is made clear below.

Note:  Because the information on this page pertains to virtually all citations, we've highlighted one important difference between APA 6 and APA 7 with an underlined note written in red.  For more information, please consult the   Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , (7 th  ed.).

Formatting a Reference List

Your reference list should appear at the end of your paper. It provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve any source you cite in the body of the paper. Each source you cite in the paper must appear in your reference list; likewise, each entry in the reference list must be cited in your text.

Your references should begin on a new page separate from the text of the essay; label this page "References" in bold, centered at the top of the page (do NOT underline or use quotation marks for the title). All text should be double-spaced just like the rest of your essay.

Basic Rules for Most Sources

  • All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation.
  • All authors' names should be inverted (i.e., last names should be provided first).
  • For example, the reference entry for a source written by Jane Marie Smith would begin with "Smith, J. M."
  • If a middle name isn't available, just initialize the author's first name: "Smith, J."
  • Give the last name and first/middle initials for all authors of a particular work up to and including 20 authors ( this is a new rule, as APA 6 only required the first six authors ). Separate each author’s initials from the next author in the list with a comma. Use an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name. If there are 21 or more authors, use an ellipsis (but no ampersand) after the 19th author, and then add the final author’s name.
  • Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work.
  • For multiple articles by the same author, or authors listed in the same order, list the entries in chronological order, from earliest to most recent.
  • Note again that the titles of academic journals are subject to special rules. See section below.
  • Italicize titles of longer works (e.g., books, edited collections, names of newspapers, and so on).
  • Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as chapters in books or essays in edited collections.

Basic Rules for Articles in Academic Journals

  • Present journal titles in full.
  • Italicize journal titles.
  • For example, you should use  PhiloSOPHIA  instead of  Philosophia,  or  Past & Present   instead of  Past and Present.
  • This distinction is based on the type of source being cited. Academic journal titles have all major words capitalized, while other sources' titles do not.
  • Capitalize   the first word of the titles and subtitles of   journal articles , as well as the   first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and   any proper nouns .
  • Do not italicize or underline the article title.
  • Deep blue: The mysteries of the Marianas Trench.
  • Oceanographic Study: A Peer-Reviewed Publication

Please note:  While the APA manual provides examples of how to cite common types of sources, it does not cover all conceivable sources. If you must cite a source that APA does not address, the APA suggests finding an example that is similar to your source and using that format. For more information, see page 282 of the   Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7 th  ed.

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  1. Essay Basics: Format a Paper in APA Style

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  2. How to Style Essays Using MLA Format

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  3. How to Write a Paper in MLA Essay Format (Updated for 2022)

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  4. How to Title an Essay: Tips and Examples

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  5. 💣 Strong titles for an essay. How to Title an Essay: Tips and Examples

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  6. Proper Essay Format Guide (Updated For 2021)

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  1. How to Title an Essay, With Tips and Examples

    In MLA format, your essay's title should be in title case. That means every principle word— words that aren't articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, or the word "to" paired with an infinitive—is capitalized. The only exception to this is when one of these words is the first or last word in the essay's title. Here's a quick example:

  2. Knowing When To Underline Or Italicize: Your Go-To Guide

    As mentioned before, underlining is a substitute for italics when writing titles by hand. Proper formatting in an essay can be confusing for many students: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-blue-blazer-holding-white-paper-3727468/ Titles Of Long Works Rule Titles that should be italicized are longer works.

  3. LibGuides: MLA Style Guide: How Do I Format My Paper?

    Your title should not be bolded, underlined or italicized. Type your title in the same font, size, and style as the rest of your paper. If you are not sure whether your paper is formatted correctly, talk to your teacher or a librarian! Example of a Properly Formatted Paper Example of an MLA Formatted First Page Jane Smith Ms. Federman AP US History

  4. MLA Titles

    Italicize the title of a self-contained whole (e.g. a book, film, journal, or website). 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.

  5. When to Use Quotation Marks for Titles

    The general rule is to use quotation marks for titles of short works such as articles, poems, songs, essays, or short stories. By contrast, use italics for larger works such as books, movies, and the names of periodicals. We provide a complete list below. When to use italics or quotation marks for titles

  6. Formatting Titles

    Simply type out the title using title case and bold it-that's it. On the first page of the essay, center and repeat the title, bold it, and use title case. Again, do not use any special formatting. Do not use a bigger font size or style. Do not underline or italicize and so forth. Just use title case, bold, and center the title on the first ...

  7. Titles: When to Italicize, Underline, or Use Quotation Marks

    When it comes to titles, you can either italicize them or put them in quotation marks. The 7th edition of the MLA Handbook eliminates underlining (underlining is still acceptable when hand-writing papers). Skip to the end of this post to see a note about underlining titles. Keeping the rules for italicizing and using quotation marks straight ...

  8. Properly Format Your Titles: Underlines, Italics, and Quotes

    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. 4) No quotation marks around titles of your own ...

  9. MLA Style Guide, 7th Edition: Titles

    Refer to section 3.6.4 of the MLA Manual for more about titles and quotations within titles. Section 3.6.5 discusses exceptions to the rules. Rules for capitalizing are strict. Capitalize all principal words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.). Do not capitalize articles, prepostions, or conjunctions when they fall in the middle of a title.

  10. PDF Punctuating Titles: When to Use Italics, Underlining, and Quotation

    Title of a Collection or Anthology of Essays. Ex: Modern Writers and Their Readers. Ex: The Razor's Edge, by AC/DC. Also: Title of a Ballet or Opera. Ex: The Nutcracker Suite or Die Fliedermaus Also: Title of Long Classical or Instrumental Compositions Identified by Name, Rather than Number. Ex: Wagner's The Flight of the Valkyries.

  11. Formatting

    Titles of books, plays, or works published singularly (not anthologized) should be italicised unless it is a handwritten document, in which case underlining is acceptable. (Ex. Hamlet, Great Expectations) Titles of poems, short stories, or works published in an anthology will have quotation marks around them. (Ex.

  12. Do You Underline Titles of Essays in Writing? Master the Rules

    Hey there! Welcome to the world of essay writing where titles play a crucial role in capturing the attention of your readers. If you've ever wondered whether to underline the titles of your essays or not, you've come to the right place.

  13. 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.

  14. Formatting Titles in Essays (Italics or Quote Marks ...

    When to Use Italics. You can often spot a title from the capitalisation, but we still format titles to distinguish between different types of source. Titles of longer sources, for example, typically use italics: Here, Kerrang! is italicised because it is the title of a magazine (i.e. a standalone work that is not one part of a larger whole).

  15. Titles in Essays (Italics or Quote Marks?)

    26th February 2018 Titles in Essays (Italics or Quote Marks?) Formatting your own essay title is easy (just bung a Heading style on it). Unfortunately, the rules about formatting the titles of existing published works (e.g. a textbook or an article from a journal) are more complicated.

  16. Quotation Marks or Italics In Titles?

    | Candace Osmond | Punctuation You've probably asked yourself while writing an essay: Should I italicize a play title or enclose it in quotation marks? What about a song title? Don't feel guilty for not knowing the rules for quotation marks or italics in titles. Even the most experienced writers have the same problem.

  17. Do you Underline Research Paper or Essay Titles? APA or MLA

    APA or MLA Do you Underline Research Paper or Essay Titles? APA or MLA Published by Josh Jasen at November 4, 2023 While content is regarded as the most significant aspect of your research paper, the paper's presentation is also important. This is because the presentation will determine whether the content is understandable by the reader.

  18. When to Underline a Title

    Only the stand-alone work should be either underlined or italicized, such as book title, magazine title, the name of a conference, etc. Parts of works, such as book chapters, magazine articles, and similar, should be presented in quotation marks. The primary goal in writing is to show your work clearly so that there is no confusion.

  19. grammar

    You only underline things that you would normally be set in italic, but for whatever reason, that option is unavailable to you. For example, when turning in copy written on a typewriter or in manuscript, one would underline things that should be set in italic. Italicization can vary according to house styles, but normally, the titles of books ...

  20. Italics and Underlining: Titles of Works

    Yes, book titles are italicized. Longer works like books, movies, and music albums use italics in their titles, but shorter works like articles, poems, and songs use quotation marks. Different style guides have different standards for italics and quotation marks, so you'll need to learn which to use.

  21. When writing an essay, should the book title be underlined, quoted, or

    Quick answer: When typing, book titles—in fact, the titles of any full-length works—should always be italicized. Titles of shorter works, such as a poem or short story, should be put in...

  22. 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

  23. Are Essay Titles Italicized? A Guide for APA and MLA Titles

    1. When Words Need to Be Emphasized Within the Title As we have noted, italics are used to set a word or phrase apart from other text within the title. When the word or phrase is set apart, it means that the reader will easily notice it and even prioritize its meaning compared to the rest of the words.

  24. Reference List: Basic Rules

    Italicize titles of longer works (e.g., books, edited collections, names of newspapers, and so on). Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as chapters in books or essays in edited collections. Basic Rules for Articles in Academic Journals. Present journal titles in full. Italicize journal titles.