computer typingCapitalize Titles Correctly

Properly punctuating titles of literature, music, art, movies, and other works can be confusing, and the rules aren’t always consistent from resource to resource. Since mistakes are prevalent, we are so used to seeing the wrong punctuation that it actually looks right!

Be consistent throughout your writing with properly using italics versus quotation marks. Writing handbooks (Chicago Manual of Style, MLA, APA, and many others) vary in their rules for capitalizing and punctuating titles, so for academic writing, check with your professor on which handbook to use.

Although rules regarding correct title capitalization vary greatly, here are a few pointers to stand by:  Capitalize the first and last word (first letter only) in a title; also capitalize every word in the title except articles and prepositions. Some sources suggest capitalizing prepositions five letters or more in length, and I agree with this simply because it looks better (for example, All About Writing instead of All about Writing).

Italicize (or Underline) Titles of Larger Works

Italicize the title of a major or larger work, such as books, novels, magazines, journals, newspapers, and book-length poems, collections and anthologies; CDs, albums, ballets, operas, and longer, classical music compositions; television series, plays, movies, and films; video games; websites; and works of art and art exhibits.  

Just remember, the title of any piece that stands alone as a single, unified work should be italicized. In general, underlining and italics are used interchangeably, so the above rules for italics also apply for underlining. Italicize when typing and underline when handwriting.

Use Quotation Marks Around Titles of  Smaller Works

Since quotation marks are “tiny,” you can remember that they are used for “smaller” works within the larger work or collection. Use quotation marks for titles of poems, short stories, and book chapters; articles in journals, magazines, and newspapers; and songs, single television episodes, and commercials.

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