Use underlining, italics, or quotation marks for titles?

Some grammar rules (and embarrassing mistakes!) transcend the uniqueness of different regions and style guides. This new International Grammar section by OnlineBookClub.org ultimately identifies those rules thus providing a simple, flexible rule-set, respecting the differences between regions and style guides. You can feel free to ask general questions about spelling and grammar. You can also provide example sentences for other members to proofread and inform you of any grammar mistakes.
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Scott
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Use underlining, italics, or quotation marks for titles?

Post by Scott » 29 Jun 2015, 11:41

When it comes to the titles of musical pieces and written works such as books, stories, poems, essays and so on, a common question in international grammar is whether to underline the titles, italicize the titles or wrap the titles in quotation marks.

Here are the rules as I understand them.

1. For identifying titles, italics and underlining are equivalent. Underlining is merely used when italic is unavailable, namely when writing by hand instead of on a computer.

2. With the rise of computers, underlining titles is archaic. It is very important not to underline titles or otherwise misuse underlining when writing on computers, especially in text to be displayed over the internet, because the underlined text will be confused with hyperlinks. On the internet, underlining is the default style for identifying a link and thus needs to be avoided otherwise.

3. Italicize names of works published by themselves. Use quotation marks around works that are published within another work. For instance, the following are all correct:
  • "Ghostwriter" by Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill is a short story in the anthology Holding Fire.
  • Dark Sky Paradise is a great album. "One Man Can Change the World" is one of my favorite tracks on it.
  • Did you see my article "Why Scott is Cool" in The Wall Street Journal?
  • The episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die" is a very funny episode of the TV show South Park.
What do you think? Are these rules correct? Are they clear?
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Post by gali » 29 Jun 2015, 13:30

I agree and the rules are clear. 8)

I wanted to add that I always use quotes when identifying titles. Is it fine?
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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 29 Jun 2015, 19:16

I have a problem that I'm not sure Scott's rules addressed: basic Christmas songs. Silent Night, White Christmas, etc. Italics, quotes, or neither??

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Post by amybo82 » 30 Jun 2015, 12:54

From what I understand, shorter works that are/can be published within other works get quotation marks and longer works or standalone pieces get italics, kind of like Scott's #3 above. So, song titles would be in quotation marks, but the name of the album would be in italics.

ex: My favorite song from Abbey Road is "Octopus's Garden."
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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 30 Jun 2015, 13:46

OK, so Christmas songs would be in quotes.

Thanks!! :-)

-- 30 Jun 2015, 14:48 --

Oh, this is in the new international grammar forum. I just noticed that. OK... seems like a useful category!!

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Post by HomeworkHelp » 01 Jul 2015, 03:04

Rules are very clear,

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Post by bookowlie » 06 Jul 2015, 08:50

Scott, Thanks for the useful info. I didn't realize that a title of a book should be in italics for the reviews.

-- 06 Jul 2015, 09:51 --

Is it appropriate to just write the title of a book without underlining or italics? I normally write the title of a book without any of the things you mentioned.
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Post by bluemel4 » 06 Jul 2015, 10:30

No. You should be using italics or underlining for book titles. If it is a short story use quotes.
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Post by bookowlie » 06 Jul 2015, 11:07

Thanks for the info!

-- 06 Jul 2015, 19:17 --
bluemel4 wrote:No. You should be using italics or underlining for book titles. If it is a short story use quotes.
I already knew about using quotes for short stories, articles, etc. I also knew about underlining book titles and the problems Scott mentioned with doing that on the internet.

Using italics is a new one for me. I thought it was acceptable to use nothing for a book title on the internet. I have often seen it that way on the official reviews here. I hope some of the editors weren't taking points away for that. I am an editor and certainly haven't. I would be interested in hearing other's thoughts on this.
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Post by moderntimes » 20 Jul 2015, 20:11

Excellent guide, Scott, and far as I know, it's correct.

Of course each publisher has their own stylebook (many simply use the Chicago Manual of Style) and so emphasis and punctuation can be slightly different between publishing houses.

You're correct absolutely about underlining. Never underline nowadays.
"Ineluctable modality of the visible..."

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Post by gali » 20 Jul 2015, 22:56

bookowlie wrote:Thanks for the info!

-- 06 Jul 2015, 19:17 --
bluemel4 wrote:No. You should be using italics or underlining for book titles. If it is a short story use quotes.
I already knew about using quotes for short stories, articles, etc. I also knew about underlining book titles and the problems Scott mentioned with doing that on the internet.

Using italics is a new one for me. I thought it was acceptable to use nothing for a book title on the internet. I have often seen it that way on the official reviews here. I hope some of the editors weren't taking points away for that. I am an editor and certainly haven't. I would be interested in hearing other's thoughts on this.
Using italics is new for me as well. I don't take points away for it, nor do I think points should be taken for such a petty matter.
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 20 Jul 2015, 23:28

My dad uses a typewriter, and so he underlines everything that he actually needs to have italicized. When I do text scanning and conversion for him, I take out the underlines and italicize his case references, such as Roe v. Wade.

The main use of underlining might involve the skeleton of your paper.

Introduction

The case of Roe v. Wade is a powerful one...

Summary of the Case

It's Roe, and it's Wade. Together, they comprise Roe v. Wade.


That seems loopy even to me. I think my Ambien is kicking in. Anyway, there you have it.

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Post by moderntimes » 21 Jul 2015, 15:35

Actually, it's "compose" -- Roe and Wade compose Roe v. Wade. Sorry, my Grammarman demonic spirit came alive there. You of course remember the famous "Grammarman" comics, where he swoops in and corrects the bad guy's speech in the nick of time? ha ha.
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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 21 Jul 2015, 15:39

Oh, hey, thanks! No, I don't recall Grammarman, but I like the concept!

:law-policered: :law-policered: :law-policered:
Grammar police! Grammar police!

-- July 21st, 2015, 4:40 pm --

Other than that, did you like my summary of the case?

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Post by moderntimes » 21 Jul 2015, 16:28

Hey, Grammarman was almost as famous as AntMan. Not quite as well known as Spider-Man however.
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