Do You Italicize Book Titles? Essay Secrets Revealed

As a writer, I have used italics, bold, and underline to emphasize some text, especially titles, without knowing why.

A deeper delve revealed I couldn’t just use any as I deemed fit.

What I learned is exactly what I have written in this easy-to-read guide.

Read and ask questions if you find any confusing terms.

Do you italicize book titles?

Yes, we italicize book titles.

Short works like songs, articles, and poems have their titles in quotation marks, while longer works like movie albums, movies, and books have their titles in italics.

Full work titles, like books and newspapers, are in italics.

Titles of short stories, poems, essays, or chapters are in quotation marks.

Bear in mind that styles have different standards for either italicizing their titles or using quotation marks.

Book titles that form a large body of work can be put in quotation marks if the name of the book is in italics.

Read also: 14+ Types of Poem to Know With Practical Examples

Do you italicize book titles in AP style?

The AP Stylebook says that you use quotation marks for the titles of books.

Do you italicize book titles in AP style? No.

You do not follow this rule for the Bible and catalogs of reference material, such as dictionaries and almanacs. These should not be styled, actually.

So, if you write for a publication that adheres to AP style, use quotation marks to reference book titles. For example, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.”

Do you italicize book titles in APA style?

dD you italicize book titles in APA?

The APA style neither uses quotation marks nor italics for short works. Instead, they are written as normal text.

Generally, APA style does not italicize titles, they are only written as normal text.

Do you italicize book titles in MLA?

In the MLA style, titles are either written in italics or enclosed in quotation marks.

Titles that are independent and self-contained, like books, and titles of containers, like anthologies, should be in italics. However, titles of larger works like short stories, essays, chapters, poems webpages, songs and speeches should be in quotations.

I believe you have an answer to the question: do you italicize book titles in MLA?.


There are times when titles also contain other titles. An example Is a journal article about a short story or film.

In this case, if the main title is in italics, then the other titles within should also be in italics.

For example; “Unbearable Weight of Authenticity: Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Theory of ‘Touristic Reading’.”

However, if the title is in double quotation marks, put the titles within in a single quotation mark.

An example is “Individualism in O’Connor’s ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’.”

Exceptions to the above rule do you italicize book titles

The general rule for italicizing titles is to use quotation marks for short titles and italics for long titles. However, this rule is not followed in the following scenarios:

  • Scripture (Genesis, Bible, Gospels, Upanishads, Old Testament, Talmud, e): Titles of individual scripture writings should be in italics and should follow the same rule as other published work.
  • Names of laws, acts, and political documents; for instance, the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, Magna Carta, and Treaty of Marseilles.
  • Musical compositions identified by form, number, and key.
  • Series titles
  • Conferences, seminars, workshops, and courses like MLA Annual Convention, English 110.

Do you italicize book titles or put them in quotes? When to Use Quotations Instead

There are specific times when you must use quotation marks for the titles of works as opposed to italics.

Use quotations for the following:

  • Poems
  • Articles in journals or magazines
  • Songs
  • Short stories
  • Book chapters
  • Television episodes

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Examples of how to use Italics

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (movie title, notice that articles are lower case)
  • The Cat in the Hat (book title)
  • “Mary Had a Little Lamb” (song title)
  • “How Pandemics End” (article title)
  • The New York Times (newspaper title)
  • “The Tell-Tale Heart” (a short story)

What if the title ends with a punctuation mark?

If the title of a work ends with a punctuation mark, include them within the quotation mark.

The punctuation mark, which can be a comma, period at the end of the title, should be inside the quotation mark. If the punctuation mark is a question mark or an exclamation, it will be outside the punctuation mark.

For example; In Little Women, Beth March dies in Chapter 40, 

“The Valley of the Shadow.”

“The Valley of the shadow of death”!

Similarly, if the punctuation is part of the title, write it in italics.

The general rule is; if the punctuation mark is part of the title, write it inside the italics or quotation mark. If it is not part of it, write it outside.

READ ALSO: When to Use Italics: When and Why to Use Italics


It is important to know when to use italics and when to use quotation marks. 

Well, this depends on the writing format.

The general rule is to italicize longer works and quote smaller works. Are there exceptions? This article has all the answers.


Lib guides – do you italicize book titles?

IRSC – do you italicize book titles