Full-text titles, such as books or newspapers, should be italicized. Poems, articles, short tales, and chapters should have their titles in quotation marks. Titles that are written in all caps, such as ANONYMOUS, are considered to be names or slogans rather than titles.
Titles can be used to distinguish words with similar meanings. For example, one could distinguish a book on history from a survey of history by using the title of each work: "A History of Rome." "An Historical Survey of Rome." Without going into detail about every possible distinction, there are many others that could be made using only the title of a work. "Writing Tools for Teachers" could be used to refer to either a book or a magazine, while "Writing Tools for Children" would be appropriate for children's literature only.
Titles can also be used to make terms or concepts explicit. For example, one might use the title of a study guide to indicate which topics it covers: "A Guide to American History," or one might specify what kind of study it is: "A Study Guide to American History."
Many books have titles that act as abstracts or summaries of contents pages or introductions.
Long titles, such as novels, movies, or record albums, should be italicized in general. Poems, articles, book chapters, songs, TV episodes, and other shorter works should be titled using quotation marks. This is common practice in academic writing.
In American English, the convention is to title television programs with words that are separate from the main title of the program. Thus, "M*A*S*H" is used to title this series, while "MASH" would be used for a different but related television program. Media guides sometimes use initial caps for their listing of television shows by network; for example, NBC's media guide lists its shows under both "M*A*S*H" and "MASH".
This custom dates back at least as far as 1973, when "MASH" was first used on television. It has been suggested that this is because names are seen by advertisers as an important part of marketing material, so it makes sense to include them when possible. However, since many shows have multiple versions of their titles, this explanation is not completely satisfactory.
Another theory is that using quotation marks for shows creates a more formal atmosphere, which may help readers recognize the difference between the main title and subtitle more easily.
Poems, essays, book chapters, music, and television shows should all have their titles in quote marks. Long quotations within the text itself can also be italicized, especially if they are important to the meaning of the sentence.
Short song titles should not be italicized. However, if you are writing about music journalism or music history, then songs' titles may come up repeatedly and need to be referenced by number (e.g., "Sexy Thing" by The Box Tops). In this case, italics would be appropriate.
Longer works, such as novels and journals, should be italicized, whereas shorter works, such as poetry and articles, should not. A book title, for example, would be in italics, but an article title would be in quotation marks.
When in doubt, follow the rules. If you are not sure whether to use italics or not, then use no formatting at all. That will allow the reader to decide what font style they want to use on their own.
If the name of the book series is italicized, titles of volumes that create a greater body of work may be put in quotation marks. For example: "A Book of Verse" or "Books I Have Loved".
When typing, book names should always be italicized, as should the titles of any full-length works. Shorter works, such as poetry or short tales, should have their titles in quote marks. If your essay is handwritten, you should only underline the titles of full-length works (italics aren't a choice). If your essay is computer-generated, underlining serves to make the text stand out from the surrounding paragraph points.
Book titles should always be underlined when reading for examinations. This gives the reader immediate recognition that they have reached a new section of the work. It also demonstrates to the examiner that you have read the work and are aware of its various parts.
Titles of books, articles, and films can be used in essays to illustrate points or arguments. For example, if you were writing about famous artists who had similar styles, you could compare and contrast them by referring to both their individual works and those of their schools or movements. The title of Marcel Duchamp's 1917 art piece "Fountain" has been cited as evidence that he was a forerunner of modern art.
Books can also serve as sources to support research or ideas. For example, one might use Thomas Kuhn's structure of scientific revolutions to explain how traditional beliefs in science are changed through debate and experimentation.
Italicize the titles of longer publications such as books, magazines, databases, and websites. For titles found in longer works such as articles, essays, chapters, poetry, Web pages, songs, and speeches, use quote marks. Italics are used to emphasize particular words in a title.
Short tale titles should not be italicized. They specify that the names of books, magazines, reports, websites, and other stand-alone publications should be italicized. In contrast, the titles of novels or chapters within novels are normally printed in capitals, with italics used only to indicate a word or phrase that is emphasized.
Titles should be given careful consideration before they are chosen. A book or article title can greatly enhance the reader's interest in the work, thereby encouraging them to read it. If the title is dull or uninspiring, readers will be less likely to pick it up. Therefore, it is important to find a balance between being informative and interesting. Short story titles should not be used to emphasize specific words in the story; instead, they should provide a brief overview or hint at what the story is about.
It is acceptable to use italics to identify a term or concept that is not common knowledge but which would help readers understand a story or article better. For example, if a story is about a man who lives in a big house by himself, then the title "The House by the Pond" would indicate this fact. However, using italics for this purpose may confuse readers if there is another person with these same characteristics in the story.