Do I Underline Book Titles?

Do you underline book titles when you write? It is actually a matter of style and there are different opinions on the subject.

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When writing a paper, do you underline book titles?

It is still a commonly used practice to underline the titles of books when you are writing a paper. This is done for a couple reasons. First, it visually draws the reader’s attention to the fact that this is a title, and titles should be given special emphasis. Second, underlining makes it easy to know which words are the title if you happen to skim over the paper and just see the words in passing.

Why do we underline book titles?

We underline book titles when writing because the rule is to underline titles of longer works and put quotation marks around titles of shorter works. The reason for this is because we want to be able to tell at a glance which are titles and which are not.

If everything were in quotation marks, then it would be hard to tell what was a title and what wasn’t. So, the rule is that if a work is long enough that it would be published as a book (generally over fifty pages), then we underline the title. If it’s something shorter, like a story or an article, then we put quotation marks around the title instead.

How do you underline book titles in an essay?

It is still a good idea to ask your instructor before using italics. (The same is true of underlining.) In general, use italics when you can’t use quotation marks to set off the title of a work.

For instance, you can’t set off the title of an article with quotation marks, so you’d have to underline or italicize it instead:

Many feel that “All Quiet on the Western Front” is the best war novel ever written.

You would also use italics for the titles of magazines, movies, television shows, and databases when you refer to them in your paper.

What’s the difference: Quotation Marks vs. Italics for Titles?

It can be confusing to know when you should underline or italicize a title. The rule is that if it’s something that can stand alone as a work, like a book, movie, or painting, then it gets italics. If it’s something that is part of a larger work, like a chapter, essay, or poem, then you put it in quotation marks.

How to punctuate titles: When to use italics, underlining, and “quotation marks.”

It’s easy for writers to forget about punctuating titles. We often see titles trailing off at the end of an article or essay, as if they’re not important enough to receive proper closing punctuation. But don’t let your reader mistake your lac of knowledge for lack of care. In written English, punctuation is vital to clarifying the meaning of sentences.

Titles of books, movies, television shows, and other titled works are generally italicized or underlined. Titles of articles, essays, short stories, chapters, and other titled works are put in quotation marks.

The following guidelines will help you learn how to punctuate titles correctly.

Italics and Underlining: Titles of Longer Works
Audio and Video Recordings
Magazines and Newspapers
Journals and Films
Long Poems
Plays and Works of Art

Quotation Marks: Titles of Shorter Works
Short Stories
Chapter Titles
Magazine and Newspaper Articles

Titles of Books, Plays, Articles, etc.: Underline? Italics? Quotation Marks?

When you are writing, you may reference other people’s work or writings. In order to do so, you will need to know how to properly write titles. When it comes to titles, you can either italicize them or put them in quotation marks.

The #1 Grammar Rule for Titles: What’s Capitalized?

It can be confusing to know which words in a title should be capitalized and which ones shouldn’t be. The #1 grammar rule for titles is to capitalize the first and last word in the title, no matter what. In addition, you should capitalize all of the “important” words. But what exactly are the “important” words?

The main rule is to capitalize nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions. That might seem like a lot of words, but it’s really not that difficult once you get the hang of it. Let’s look at an example:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

In this title, we would capitalize Harry, Potter, Order, Phoenix, and all of the other nouns. We would also capitalize any pronouns (I, me, she, her), adjectives (beautiful, happy), verbs (read), adverbs (slowly), and subordinate conjunctions (although, because). That leaves us with a capitalized title of: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Punctuating Titles: When to Use Italics, Underlining, and “Quotation Marks”

It’s easy for students to get confused about how to punctuate titles. Of course, you can always consult a style guide if you have any questions, but here are some general rules to keep in mind.

Titles of books, magazines, newspapers, journals, and other works that are published independently are italicized. (Do not italicize the Bible, reference books, or anthologies.)

Some titles are put in quotation marks instead of being italicized: Short stories, essays, chapters from books, poems, articles from newspapers or magazines, episodes of television and radio programs (but not the names of the programs themselves), and lectures or speeches.

Italics or quotation marks? Sometimes it’s hard to decide when to underline (or place in italics) a title and when to place it in double quotation marks. In general, you should italicize the titles of long works and place the titles of short works in double quotation marks. Here are some examples:

Writing Tips: Titles of Books, Plays, Articles, etc.

As a general rule, you should italicize the titles of long works, like books, movies, or record albums. Short works, like poems, articles, or TV episodes, get put in quotes. Here are some examples:

· I read The Catcher in the Rye in high school.

· We saw Macbeth last night. It was great!

· My all-time favorite album is Abbey Road.
o If a title gets shortened in its second reference, you shouldn’t italicize it: We read The Catcher in the Rye and saw Macbeth last night.

Formatting a Research Paper

##Keywords: underlining, titles, papers, research
Most classroom essays will require a title. A title or heading should be included at the top of each page of your essay, report or assignment. You should also include a title or heading on the first page of your text, even if your instructor doesn’t require one.

The title or heading should be concise and clearly describe what the paper is about. If you are writing a paper in MLA format, there are a few simple rules you can follow to ensure that your title is properly formatted.

First and foremost, always consult your instructor’s guidelines to determine whether they prefer that you use italics or underlining for titles of larger works (books, movies, newsletters, magazines) and quotation marks for titles of shorter works (poems, articles, TV shows). Once you have determined which style is preferred for your class, stick with it throughout the entire paper.

If you are in doubt about whether to italicize or underline a title, ask yourself whether the work in question is part of a larger work or stand-alone. Larger works are usually italicized (or underlined), while smaller works are put in quotation marks. For example:
-I just read The Catcher in the Rye. versus I just read “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D Salinger.

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