Italics And Underlining: Titles Of Works
Titles at the top of the page or on the front cover don’t require italics or underlining. Their separation from the rest of the text is already enough to get the reader’s attention.
To Kill a Mockingbird
Feminism in Shakespeare’s Tragedies
What I Did on My Summer Holidays
Poems from the Abyss
When discussed or quoted within text, titles of long, full-length works should be italicized or – if that’s not possible – underlined. Full-length works are things like novels, plays, epic poems, and text books.
Have you read To Kill a Mockingbird?
Her dissertation is entitled Feminism in Shakespeare’s Tragedies.
What I Did on My Summer Holidays is a banal title for a potentially intriguing story.
Andrew’s next book will be called Poems from the Abyss.
Shorter works (poems, articles, short stories, chapter titles) should also be italicized, but if that’s not possible, they should be put in quotation marks.
The first poem in the book is called Athena’s Birth.
Here’s an anthology: find the story called The Sky and the Sea.
Did you read that newspaper article, “Shark Eats Man”?
Beth March dies in Chapter 40, “The Valley of the Shadow”.
If the punctuation is part of the title, include it in the italics or underlining or quotation marks. If it’s not part of the title, make sure it’s outside the italics or underlining or quotation marks.
Cathy’s favorite book is Who Has Seen the Wind?
Have you been to the theater to see Romeo and Juliet?
Does this seem a little straight-forward for English? You’re right: there are exceptions! What happens if you have more than one title? If you have, say, a collection of novels in one book (let’s take, for example, all three Lord of the Rings books in one handy but hefty paperback), the title of the collection would be italicized or underlined, and the titles of the three books would then be put in quotation marks.
Lord of the Rings is a very large book. I made it through “The Fellowship of the Ring” and “The Two Towers”, but was dying of boredom by the time I got to “The Return of the King”. I’ll read it at a later date.
If you have a two-for-one deal, don’t italicize both varieties of titles; the title of the smaller work should be in quotation marks.
In Little Women, Beth March dies in Chapter 40, “The Valley of the Shadow”.
You would also do this with episodes from TV shows.
My favourite Seinfeld episode is “The Soup Nazi”.