Should Book Titles Be Italicized Or Underlined Mla Bibliography

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Italicizing & Underlining

Use italics or underlining for titles of books, long poems and plays


  • Books:Beloved,  To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Long poems:The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,  The Odyssey
  • Plays: Death of a Salesman,  Much Ado About Nothing

Titles of sacred documents and legal or public documents are capitalized but not set in italics


  • the Bible  
  • Book of Ruth      
  • the Koran      
  • the Magna Carta       
  • the Bill of Rights   

Use italics for newspapers, magazines and other periodicals


  • the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel       
  • Time       
  • Architecture Digest 

Use italics for works of art, long musical works, movies and broadcast shows (radio or television)


  • Picasso's Guernica           
  • Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4   
  • Star Wars          
  • Seinfeld           
  • A Prairie Home Companion

Titles of Books, Plays, Articles, etc.: Underline? Italics? Quotation Marks?

Prior to computers, people were taught to underline titles of books and plays and to surround chapters, articles, songs, and other shorter works in quotation marks. However, here is what The Chicago Manual of Style says: When quoted in text or listed in a bibliography, titles of books, journals, plays, and other freestanding works are italicized; titles of articles, chapters, and other shorter works are set in roman and enclosed in quotation marks.

Below are some examples to help you:

We read A Separate Peace in class. (title of a book)

Example: That Time magazine article, “Your Brain on Drugs,” was fascinating.
Note that the word “magazine” was not italicized because that is not part of the actual name of the publication.

Example: His article, “Death by Dessert,” appeared in The New York Times Magazine.

Note that the and magazine are both capitalized and set off because the name of the publication is The New York Times Magazine.

Newspapers, which follow The Associated Press Stylebook, have their own sets of rules because italics cannot be sent through AP computers.

Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2008, at 2:33 am


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