Blog - Proofreading and Copy Editing

Referencing Work Titles I

Here are a few simple rules to remember when referencing work titles in your writing!

The general question to ask is: Is the work a whole, or part of a whole?

  • Whole à use italics
  • Part of a whole à use roman in quotation marks

An example is a music album, e.g. Born to Die by Lana Del Ray. This is the whole. A song on the album is part of the whole, e.g. ‘Video Games’ on the album Born to Die by Lana Del Ray.

We can divide work titles into three areas:

  1. Written work
  2. Works of art
  3. Works of music

This post will concentrate on written work.

Written Work

1. Italics

Use italics for the following types of written work:

  • Films
  • Books
  • Journals
  • Newspapers

Examples: Pulp Fiction (film), Pride and Prejudice (book), BMJ (journal), The Guardian (newspaper), Moments of Vision (poetry collection), etc.

2. Roman in quotation marks

Use roman in quotation marks for:

  • Poems
  • Articles
  • Chapter titles
  • Short stories

Examples: ‘A Birthday’ by Christina Rossetti (poem), ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’ by Ernest Hemingway (short story), etc.

3. Roman

A couple of exceptions to the above rule are:

  • Series titles
  • Sacred texts

Examples: The Harry Potter books, the Rough Guides, the Bible, the Old Testament, the Book of Genesis, etc.

A Note on Capitalisation

Titles of works are generally capitalised according to the following rules:

  1. Always capitalise the initial word of the title
  2. Capitalise nouns, adjectives and verbs
  3. You may or may not capitalise pronouns and adverbs (up to you but be consistent)
  4. Do not capitalise articles, conjunctions and prepositions

Example: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

In my next post I will go on to discuss works of art and music!

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