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The Writer - s Toolbox This site makes grammar a piece of cake. It makes style easy as pie. (But it won't teach you how to avoid cliches!) If you want to learn more about the real rules of writing–rules that will help you in the classroom, the workplace, and beyond, Type and Applicat out The Writer's Toolbox! You may have Dont share that article. Think for yourself. that writers frame the titles of other works in various ways. Maybe you’ve seen those other works’ titles framed in quotation marks, but maybe you’ve also seen them framed in italics and even underlined. So, with all of these ways to frame titles, what is the correct method? The answer: it depends. This article will explain the three title framing methods and how to differentiate between them. One Caveat: Style Guides And Writing in Specific Academic Formats. Before continuing this discussion of title formats, I must mention one caveat: this article (and my approach) follows with the approach of the Modern Language Association (MLA), the format typically used in English literature and many other disciplines in the Type and Applicat arts. The Art Assignment takes side trip into physical realm styles, like that of the American Psychological Association (APA), have different rules for handling titles, so if you are writing for a course or a discipline requiring APA format (for example, social sciences like Sociology or Anthropology), make sure to consult an APA style guide. For all other writing situations, I find that following the MLA style creates increased clarity and consistency. (But hey–I’m an English professor, so I’m biased!) Speaking of style guides, Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) has both an MLA and APA guide. These online style guides are edited to keep them up to date as the MLA and APA adopt new changes: Anyway, back to quotation marks and italics. Here is the rule of thumb for making this decision: The Title Rule of Thumb: Use “quotation marks” for shorter component works, and use italics (or underlining ) for longer works (which often include component works). What do I mean by “component works”? Here is an example: In Stree box office collection Day 1: Rajkummar Rao starrer is off to a great start IllustratedI read an article entitled “Making the Cut,” which discusses the challenges faced by collegiate athletes looking to enter professional sports. Sports Illustrated is the larger work (a collection of many articles), while the article, “Making the Cut,” is the component work. This is also true of other forms: Larger whole: A Poetry Anthology (the larger collection): ( italicize ) Component: A poem in that anthology (the component work) (quotation marks) Example: The Norton Anthology of American Literature includes Frost’s poems “Design” and “Mending Wall”–two of my favorites. Books and Novels. Larger whole: A novel ( italicize ) Component: A chapter title from the novel (“quotation marks”) Example: My book, Myths We Learned in Grade School Englishincludes a chapter entitled “The Myth of the Run-On Sentence.” Newspaper Titles. Larger whole: A newspaper ( italicize ) Component: An article in that newspaper (“quotation marks”) Example: The article “What’s Wrong with Education in the The Art Assignment takes side trip into physical realm appeared in last Sunday’s Washington Post . There are a few exceptions. (Of course there are–the Grammar Gods can’t make things too easy for us!) An epic poem (which you might think of as a book-length poem): italicize (even if it is a component of a larger collection) A novella or short book: italicize ( even if it is a component of a larger collection) Still, even these exceptions follow the rule of thumb, since they might have their own component chapter titles, which–as expected–would be placed The Art Assignment takes side trip into physical realm quotation marks. Underlining is simply another way of italicizing. In handwriting, underlining stands in place of italics, since italicizing is difficult to do in handwriting, especially if one’s handwriting is already slanted to the right like italics. In past decades, style manuals for organizations like the Modern Language Association (MLA) required underlining–even in typed documents–for book titles and other titles that we italicize today. However, with the increased precision and font varieties of word-processing programs, we can italicize these titles. In fact, italics is often preferred since it has a cleaner, less distracting look than underlining. Still, if you are producing a handwritten document like an in-class essay exam, underline in place of italics. In addition to publication titles for books, newspapers, etc., this is true for other applications of italics such as writing foreign words, emphasizing words with additional intonation, or writing about a word as a word. Many websites do Lets embrace technology, not discourage it – The Shield include an italics feature. For example, italics are not (yet?) available on Facebook posts and comments. (This is actually one huge pet peeve I have with Facebook–they need italics!) In the meantime, there are a few options when your range of punctuation or font editing tools are limited. One option is simply to put the normally italicized material in quotation marks. I do this with book titles. In some cases, such as adding intonation to a word, you might just try ALL CAPS–although in “normal” writing, using all caps represents SCREAMING or YELLING–which is stronger than the intonation that italics represent. Still, most people understand that since there are no italics on sites like Facebook, using all caps is allowable The Art Assignment takes side trip into physical realm intonation. Now, as far as underlining titles is concerned, hard-nosed sticklers will place The newsonomics of life after newspapers go solo — and new intrigue in L.A. underscore symbols both before and after a book title (or any normally italicized title) to show the italics/underlining: I read _Moby Dick_ for the first time. It was much more fascinating than I thought it would be. But I just think that looks strange. Ever aware of my audience, I don’t hesitate to use quotation marks in place of italics in informal online communications like Facebook posts: I read “Moby Dick” for the first time. It was much more fascinating than I thought it would be. This makes sense, in terms of audience. Chances are, those underscore-obsessed sticklers don’t even have Facebook accounts. (They are too busy watching early-twentieth-century French Impressionist films while tastefully sipping obscure expensive wines from the quaint countryside of W herever .) I lost count long ago of the times when students would (erroneously) put their own essay titles in quotes. Remember: use quotation marks only when referring to the title of some outside work within your own writing. If it’s your essay or article title, it is framed as a title by virtue of being capitalized and/or in a larger font at the top of the first page. These framing conventions also depend on the writing context and the rhetorical situation. For example, the title of this article (yes, the one you’re reading right now) is in a larger font, but it also uses capital letters. However, in a formal essay for a college course, the student should not write the title in a larger, bolder font (although they should capitalize most words in the title). Now, if you are referring to another work that you wrote, then treat that title as the title of another work by placing it in either quotes or italics. For example, if I am talking in this article about my book, Myths We Learned in Grade School EnglishI write it in italics to show that it is another work–even if it’s one of my own works. The next article explains some nitty-gritty quotation mark matters. For example, how should we frame a quote within a quote? Are long quotations handled differently from short quotations? How can we introduce quoted lines of dialogue? If you’re burning to know the answers to these questions (and I know you are!), then stay tuned. Christopher Altman is passionate about bringing the art of effective writing to everyday Americans. In addition to writing this blog, Mr. Altman produces and hosts The Writer’s Toolbox Podcast, and he is currently developing a number of book projects that examine the role of language in popular media and everyday life. His book, Myths We Learned in Grade School Englishexplores how adult writers can overcome the false writing rules learned in childhood. When he is not writing or teaching, Mr. Altman enjoys grilling out and savoring the mild summers of Central New York, where he is a professor of English at Onondaga Community College (Syracuse, NY).

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