How Do You Format Titles of Works?

Last updated Jan 22, 2024
By Gwenydd Jones

If you need to format titles of works, there are simple rules to follow. Do you need italics, inverted commas or underline for a book title? Find out in our quiz (with answers and explanations).

Coral and yellow cartoon image that reads Quick Quiz: Italics, "Inverted Commas" or underline for titles of works?

Italics, inverted commas or underline for titles of works?

In the quick quiz below, decide whether the title of a work should be formatted with italics, put in inverted commas or underlined?

1. Book title

2. Journal article title

3. Title of a famous speech

4. Name of a work of art

5. Conference talk title

Scroll down to see the answers.

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Answers to the quiz italics, inverted commas or underline for titles of works?

1. Book titles are normally formatted in italics. 

2. Titles of journal articles are normally placed in inverted commas. 

3. Titles of famous speeches are normally formatted in italics. 

4. Names of works of art are normally formatted in italics. 

5. The title of conference talk will normally be placed in inverted commas.

What’s the general takeaway on formatting the titles of works?

Think about the titles of works in terms of levels. If it’s the top level, like a book, then it normally goes in italics. If it’s a lower level, such as the name of a chapter in a book, then it normally goes in inverted commas. You won’t typically need to use underlining.

Looking for the best style guide to help you with your writing?

Look no further. Find out our top recommendations for the best style guides for writers, translators, copy editors and proofreaders.

Written by Gwenydd Jones

Gwenydd Jones is a Spanish- and French-to-English translator, an SEO blogger and a course creator. She is the founder of The Translator's Studio and the lead teacher on its courses. Connect with Gwenydd on LinkedIn or contact her through this website.

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