Italics for titles of novels in dialog? Use or Not?

0

What about the use of book titles in dialog? They are normally italicized, but they sometimes seem redundant or stand out.

Example:

"I loved the novel War and Peace," he said.

I just identified War and Peace as a novel. Why identify it again by using italics. And in speaking, there is no emphasis on the title. We don't say, "Hey, this is a novel, get it?" Italics replaced underlining, and we would never underline words in a novel or put words in color (except for children's books).

asked Nov 11 '12 at 18:48 Roger Carrier New member

2 answers


3

You make an interesting, valid point.  The various style guides don't really address how to handle titles in dialogue. Let me offer the following thoughts, however, for your consideration:

 

(a) The style guides all call for consistency -- however you handle titles, you should handle them the same way throughout your text.

(b) It may become necessary in your dialogue to identify a title as a title. Without such identification, the title could be misread for being part of the text rather than being a noun phrase. If that occurs, you will want/need to italicize the title.

(c) If you have to italicize the title in one place, you should italicize all titles.

 

So for clarity and consistency, I would say italicize all titles, even if it seems a bit redundant (I tend toward the conservative in these matters). Other editors may disagree.

link comment edited Nov 11 '12 at 19:05 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow
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Me, too. You wouldn not not capitalize someone's name because it's clearly understood to be a name. (Can you say 'not not'?)

 

My father, richard neidhardt, was a good man.

link answered Nov 11 '12 at 21:32 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

You would not not not capitalize. The triple neg. . .dig it!

TolleyNov 11 '12 at 21:47

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