Titles: Underline, Italics, or Quotations?Writer's Web
(printable version here)

When writing about other works, it's hard to decide when to underline (or place in italics) a title and when to place it in double quotations. Note that some publications have a "house style" that must be followed. When in doubt, however, these guidelines from the Modern Language Association may help:

For titles of written or musical works that are published within other works use double quotations; underline or italicize names of works published by themselves:

ex. I just read the short story "Looking for Jake" in China Miéville's anthology of the same name, Looking for Jake.

ex. Beckett's play Waiting for Godot will be performed next season.

ex. Devo's second album, Duty Now for the Future, has one of my favorite songs, "Swelling Itching Brain."

ex. Yes, I went to a science-fiction convention. I really enjoy the original Star Trek TV series, especially the episode "Return of the Archons," and the first three Star Wars films, especially The Empire Strikes Back, okay?

ex. I read the story "All about the Bronx" in the city section of today's New York Times.

ex. I have subscribed to my favorite magazine, The Atlantic, for many years.

For names of artwork, always use italics or underlining:

ex. We have a copy of Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks in the Writing Center lobby. I always think about it when I'm listening to Tom Wait's CD Nighthawks at the Diner.

For the names of famous aircraft, ships, and spacecraft, always use italics or underlining:

ex. I built scale models of the USS Nimitz and the space shuttle Discovery last year.

Sacred texts:

ex. The Bible, Book of Exodus, or Qu'ran do not get underlined in the text of a paper. A specific edition would, however, in a works-cited list. Their titles are capitalized.

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