If you get tasked with creating a scholarly text or writing in a professional manner, you need to ensure your style and grammar are top-notch.
There is the possibility of you writing on a book you have gone through before or citing sources within a paper.
If you have been in such a position that gets you wondering whether to underline or italicize a book title or how to cite shorter pieces the right way, this is the article for you!
In this article, we will unveil to you the nitty-gritty behind the use of italics. We will focus on when it is correct to use them and how to highlight other reference material types.
Should you italicize book titles?
By principle, you ought to use italics when dealing with long works while you use quotations when dealing with short works. Depending on which format you ought to maintain, the rules differ. For instance, you may get asked to create a piece using MLA, APA style, or the Chicago Manual style. Ensure you follow the rules outlined by the guidelines.
Note the following writing formats:
- MLA (Modern Language Association): gets used in humanities and arts
- APA (American Psychological Association): Gets used in the social sciences
- Associated Press Stylebook (AP): This gets used in newspapers, magazines, and the internet
- Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago): This gets used in the sciences.
When dealing with APA, MLA, and Chicago, ensure you use italics when dealing with long works. When handling short works, stick to quotations.
In the case of AP style, you are not to use italics for your writings regardless of the length. Also, note that the APA style doesn’t use either italics or quotation marks for short works. It instead mandates them to get written as ordinary text.
Your choice of style may hinge on your initiative as a writer. In such a situation, you should maintain consistency all through the work with the use of underlines, italics, and quotation marks.
Emphasizing titles when dealing with short works
In a situation where you are trying to reference a title, make sure you do not present it using italics. You should use quotation marks for making emphasize the smaller works. This rule applies to the titles of TV show episodes.
Is there a need to italicize the punctuation of titles?
When faced with a situation where a piece of work has punctuation such as a question mark, you ought to italicize that aspect of the title as well. For instance, you should write “I am a fan of the book 48 laws of power by Robert Greene. “
In a case where you are writing and making use of italics in a given sentence to make emphasis, you shouldn’t italicize the punctuation.
What are the exceptions with emphasizing titles?
As it is with many components of English, certain exceptions come to play with titles. An exception is when you are dealing with a book that is a collection of different novel titles such as Lord of the Rings. In such a scenario, it is ideal you write the title of the particular book using quotation marks. Ensure the collection’s title gets kept in italics.
Also, in a case where “the” is a component of the title, ensure you do not italicize it. For instance, the Washington Post.
How can you capitalize?
Note that titles need special capitalization and formatting rules. For instance, you may only capitalize the first word and the main words contained in the title. Never capitalize on articles such as “an,” “a,” or “the.” An example of the Art of War instead of The Art Of War.
When should you use quotations?
There are instances where you may choose to use quotation marks for the work’s title instead of italics. You can use quotations for songs, poems, short stories, book chapters, and TV episodes.
What should you do when your source does not state the style guide?
Certain publications do not follow one style guide. In such a scenario, you may enquire from the editor what his or her preference may be. Also, you may select one way and maintain it throughout your content. The most important thing beyond following a certain style is consistency. Hence, you italicize a book title on page 20 of your write up, it is ideal you italicize a different book title on page 40, and so on.
Being a writer, your core function is to show consistency so that your writing will show professionalism all through. Editors will study your content to be sure you are consistent with the use of quotation marks or italics for your work. It wouldn’t hurt if all they have to do is to search for the minor fault of divergence but it becomes a big issue when they have to correct from scratch.
What happens when the source cited does not italicize the work?
It all boils down to consistency. in a situation where a source cited does not italicize published works but you have adopted the style for yours, you have to maintain it.
For instance, you may have scouted for online sources in your library and referring to a certain material. You will be using italics to differentiate the published material in your content, but, the source used gets presented with quotation marks.
Proper usage of italics
The following are instances where italics got used right:
- “The Tell-Tale Heart” ( short story)
- “Mary Had a Little Lamb” (Song)
- “Force of Nature” (Movie title)
“Avengers End Game” Movie title) and several others
The use of quotation marks or italics is not one choice that has an absolute rule. Their usage hinges on the format for writing which you are using. But on a general note is that longer works such as books need you to use italics. Shorter works like articles and poems ought to get written using quotation marks.
Using the right tool, you can generate the book title now!