Should Quotes Be Italicized In An Essay

Simply put: no.

APA's Publication Manual (2010) indicates that, in the body of your paper, you should use italics for the titles of:

  • books
  • periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers)
  • films
  • videos
  • TV shows
  • Microfilm publications

Beyond APA's specific examples, know that certain types of titles are almost always written in italics. 

Use italics in a word-processed document for the types of titles you'd underline if you were writing by hand.  A general rule of thumb is that within the text of a paper, italicize the title of complete works but put quotation marks around titles of parts within a complete work. 

The table below isn't comprehensive, but it's a good starting point

Titles in ItalicsTitles Placed in "Quotation Marks"
Title of a periodical (magazine, journal, newspaper)              Title of article in a periodical
Title of a book   Title of a chapter in a book
Title of a movie or playName of an act or scene in a movie or a play
Title of a television or radio series   Title of an episode within a tv or radio series
Title of a musical album or CDTitle of a song
Title of a long poemTitle of a short poem
Names of operas or long musical composition
Names of paintings and sculptures

Title of a short story

On an APA-style reference page, the rules for titles are a little different.  In short, a title you would italicize within the body of a paper will also be italicized on a reference page.  However, a title you'd place in quotation marks within the body of the paper (such as the title of an article within a journal) will be written in normal lettering and will not be in quotation marks.

Here are some examples:

Smith (2001) research is fully described in the Journal of Higher Education.

Smith's (2001) article "College Admissions See Increase" was published in the Journal of Higher Education after his pivotal study on the admissions process.

When you italicize a word or a phrase, it gets noticed. However, italics (typeface that slants to the right) are a bit understated and do not attract the same attention as say, bold or underline. When to use italics? There are certain style rules to remember. However, italics are popularly used to call attention to certain words in a block of text. When you think about it if all the words looked the same, reading would be a rather boring affair. One thing to remember for any typeface is not to go overboard. If every other word is italics, it loses its effect and becomes less 'special.'

What to Italicize

Like so many rules in the English language, rules for italicization vary. Often italics and underline can be used interchangeably. There are some style guides that prefer the use of underlining over the use of italics (and vice versa).

Here are, though, some rules of what to italicize. However, do keep in mind that for some of these categories below underlining is also possible.

  • Emphasis: When you want to emphasize a certain word or phrase in a sentence. (She was the only girl in the class who got 100% on the exam.)
  • Titles of Works: (Please note that we can also underline the following)
  • Books: (Elements of Style, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Jane Eyre)
  • Magazines: (Time magazine, Newsweek, Cosmpolitan)
  • Newspapers: (USA Today, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Plays: (Romeo & Juliet, Waiting for Godot, Uncle Vanya)
  • Movies: (Batman, Casablanca, Twilight)
  • Works of Art: (Monet’s Waterlilies, Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa)
  • TV/radio programs: (American Idol, BBC’s Woman’s Hour, The Simpsons)
  • CD/Album: (Michael Jackson’s Thriller album, Parachutes by Cold Play)
  • Foreign Words/Technical Terms/Unfamiliar Words: When we are writing a text in one particular language (i.e. English) and want to introduce a foreign word or phrase, we tend to italicize the foreign words. (The word for cat in Spanish is gato.)
  • Names of Trains, Ships, Aircraft, and Spacecraft: (NASA’s Challenger, QE2) 

When to Underline

As we have discussed italics and underline can both be used for titles of major works. There are certain style guides that require underlining for titles, such as the MLA.

Example:

I have never seen the movie Titanic.

We have to read two plays by Shakespeare: Hamlet and Macbeth.

Also, sometimes italics can be difficult to read, so some recommend underlining to really emphasize certain words and phrases.

Some Things to Remember

  • We do not italicize parts of larger works. For example, chapters in a book, poems, sections of newspapers, songs in a CD. Instead we use quotation marks (We heard the song "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson on the radio three times last night).
  • We also do not italicize religious books (for example, the Bible, Koran, the Torah)
  • Italicize (or underline) punctuation marks that are a part of a tile (?, !)- Getting the Job You Want Now! Getting the Job You Want Now!
  • Do not use italics and underline at the same time (It only cost five dollars.)

Additional Resources

  • To get some practice using italics and underlining take Empire State College's quiz
  • ESC Online Writing Center has a good overview of italics and underlining

Post a comment.

comments powered by

When to Italicize

By YourDictionary

When you italicize a word or a phrase, it gets noticed. However, italics (typeface that slants to the right) are a bit understated and do not attract the same attention as say, bold or underline. When to use italics? There are certain style rules to remember. However, italics are popularly used to call attention to certain words in a block of text. When you think about it if all the words looked the same, reading would be a rather boring affair. One thing to remember for any typeface is not to go overboard. If every other word is italics, it loses its effect and becomes less 'special.'

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *