Italics, Inverted Commas or Underline?

Style quiz italics inverted commas or underline

Written by Gwenydd Jones

Translator, translator trainer and copywriter

Italics, inverted commas or underline? (according to Chicago)


  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!

Newsletter #6 Style quiz italics inverted commas or underline




The overriding rule under The Chicago Manual of Style is to italicise the name of free-standing works (books, TV series, operas, lengthy stand-alone poems and the like). You would then use inverted commas when the title forms part of a larger work (chapters, episodes, songs on albums and poems in collections, for instance). It can sometimes be hard to make a call because you hit a grey area. Also, certain works may appear as stand-alone works sometimes and as part of a collection on other occasions. If this happens and you can’t double check (e.g. in an exam) then make a decision you can justify and be consistent. Underlining is outdated; I just wrote that to try to catch you out.


  1. Book title: italicise (chapters would go in inverted commas).
  2. Journal article title: inverted commas (with the title of the journal requiring italics).
  3. Title of a famous speech: italicise (bog-standard speeches go in inverted commas).
  4. Name of a work of art: italicise (the name of an exhibit or collection of works would also be italicised).
  5. Conference talk title: inverted commas (the conference name would be written in title case, without italics).


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