Titles--Italics or Quotation Marks? by Professor Jill Mackey

Titles of longer works are usually shown in italics.  Titles of shorter works are enclosed within quotation marks. 

To put it another way, longer works with titles shown in italics indicate that these works have been published as themselves, such as a book or a record album. 

Shorter works, such as individual poems or songs, are published within a longer work, and this is indicated by the use of quotation marks around these titles.

See this table for examples:

Source—the type

Italics—published as itself

Quotation Marks—published within a longer work


New York Times

“In a Hot Market, Evictions for Renters Soar” (article in the newspaper)



“Ebola’s Back Door to America” (article in the magazine)


American Journal of Sports Medicine

“Evaluation and Management of Hamstring Injuries” (article in the journal)


Trillion Year Spree:  The History of Science Fiction

“XIII. The Men in their High Castles” (chapter title within the book)


Chief Modern Poets of Britain and America

“Among School Children” (a poem by W. B. Yeats printed in the anthology)


Jurassic Park


Record Album

Off the Wall

“Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough” (song on the album)

TV Show

The Simpsons

“Tree House of Horror” (title of an individual episode of the TV show)


American Cancer Society

“How the American Cancer Society Fights Childhood Cancer” (an article on the website)

Other Common Uses of Italics

Please note that these are also italicized:

  • Titles of ships:  Titanic
  • Legal Cases:  Brown v. Board of Education
  • Works of Art:  Michelangelo’s David
  • Foreign words:  mon ami, homo sapiens
  • Words when they are referred to as words:  I really love the word love.