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:
- Written work
- Works of art
- Works of music
This post will concentrate on written work.
Use italics for the following types of written work:
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:
- Chapter titles
- Short stories
Examples: ‘A Birthday’ by Christina Rossetti (poem), ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’ by Ernest Hemingway (short story), etc.
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:
- Always capitalise the initial word of the title
- Capitalise nouns, adjectives and verbs
- You may or may not capitalise pronouns and adverbs (up to you but be consistent)
- 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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