Stating Book Title In Essay Mla

DEALING WITH TITLES IN MLA FORMAT
by Dr. Harold William Halbert

The conventions of properly marking a title in MLA style can seem confusing, but the basic issues deal with 1) capitalization and 2) marking the title.

Capitalization:

The standard conventions for capitalizing a title in MLA style are straightforward:

  • The first letter of every word is capitalized except for articles, coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions.
  • Articles ("a," "an," and "the"), coordinating conjunctions ("for," "and," "nor," "but," "or," "yet," and "so"), and prepositions (words such as "on," "above," "below," "to," "throughout," etc.) are NOT capitalized.
  • The first word is always capitalized, regardless of if it is an article or preposition.

Note that sometimes writers encounter titles that do not follow these conventions while conducting research. Databases often capitalize the entire title of an article or book, while other types of "styles" (like the AP style or the APA style) only capitalize the first word. You must change the capitalization of the title to MLA style if you reference the title of a work in your paper.

Marking the Title:

There are three possible ways to mark a title: the use of underlining/italics, quotation marks, or no mark at all. The following general rules of thumb may help writers conceptualize the difference between the three demarcations:

  • Underline or italicize large works or works that contain other works.
  • Use quotation marks on shorter works.
  • Do not mark sacred texts or political documents such as laws, acts, treaties, or declarations.

The following chart offers specific types of texts and their demarcations:

Underline/ItalicQuotation MarksNo Marks
Novels, books, anthologiesShort stories, essays, and chapter titles.Religious texts
Magazines, newspapers, and journalsIndividual articles
Films, TV shows, radio programsIndividual episodes of shows or programs
Web sitesIndividual web pages
Epic poemsRegular poems
Pamphlets or sermons
Albums, named symphonies, balletsIndividual songsNumbered musical compositions
Painting, sculptures
Names of specific ships, spacecraft, or aircraft Type of ship, spacecraft, or aircraft
Lectures
Supreme Court CasesLegal documents, treaties, acts, and declarations

Note that underlining and italics signify the same type of mark. Many traditional professors prefer underling because when the MLA guidelines were first established, italics was not available on typewriters. In my class, you can use either underlining or italics, but you must be consistent: once you use underlining, stick with it. Never use BOTH italics and underlining.

Your Own Title:

Your own title for papers and other writings should follow the MLA rules on capitalization. Do not use italics, underlining, or quotation marks on it. Instead, it should appear centered one single-spaced line below the identification information and one single-spaced line above the first line of the paper. Do not increase the font size.

Titles in Titles:

If a title contains another title within it, confusion can occur. Follow the following rules to avoid confusion:

  • An underlined title in an underlined title requires that the line be removed from internal title (example: Understanding The Sun Also Rises).
  • A quoted title inside a quoted title requires the use of single quotation marks around the internal title (example: "The Dandy in Cather's 'Paul's Case'").

http://faculty.mc3.edu/hhalbert/shared/titles_MLA_style.html
Owned by Dr. Harold William Halbert
Based on MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (6th Edition)
Others are welcome to use this document provided credit is given to me.
Formatting Titles

A lot of people have trouble formatting titles correctly.  In an English class, how you format the title of a work (a book, an article, a poem, a television show, etc.) can affect the clarity of what you are trying to communicate in your paper.  Please use this reference to make sure you are formatting your titles correctly.

NOTE:  Be sure to capitalize the first letter in ALL of the words of your title except for prepositions (in, of, to, about, toward, between, with, etc.), conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, so, etc.) and articles (a, an, the), UNLESS the word is the first one in the title or comes after a colon.  Capitalize EVEN IF the words are not capitalized in your source.  NEVER use bold type, all caps or extra large fonts in titles.


Type of Source / Document
Title Format
Examples

A book or a play
Underline or Italicize 
(Do one or the other and
 be consistent throughout the paper)
The Price of a Child or The Price of a Child
Uncle Tom's Cabin: Or, Life among the Lowly or Uncle Tom's Cabin: Or, Life among the Lowly
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Death of a Salesman or Death of a Salesman
Othello: The Moor of Venice or Othello: The Moor of Venice


A periodical
(scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers)

Underline or Italicize
The New England Journal of Medicine or The New England Journal of Medicine
Essence or Essence
The Philadelphia Inquirer or The Philadelphia Inquirer


An article from a periodical  

Quotation Marks
"HIV Awareness in African American Fraternities"
"Referee Linked to Alleged Area Bookmaker"

A article from an anthology
(a book of articles by different authors)
Quotation Marks
"Teen Pregnancy: A Different Perspective"

A short story


Quotation Marks
"The Cask of Amontillado"
"Sweat"
"Bloodchild"


A film

Underline or Italicize
The Matrix or The Matrix
Hustle & Flow or Hustle & Flow
Bowling for Columbine or Bowling for Columbine


A CD or album

Underline or Italicize
Hairspray: The Motion Picture Soundtrack or Hairspray: The Motion Picture Soundtrack
The White Album or The White Album


A single song from a CD or album

Quotation Marks
"Revolution"
"The Light of My Life"
"Pimp & Circumstance"


A poem

Quotation Marks
"If We Must Die"
"Phenomenal Woman"
"Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?"


A reference book

Underline or Italicize
The Oxford English Dictionary or The Oxford English Dictionary
Encyclopedia Britannica or Encyclopedia Britannica


A television show

Underline or Italicize
Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Buffy the Vampire Slayer
American Idol or American Idol


A single episode of a television show

Quotation Marks
"Never Kill a Boy on the First Date"
"Once More with Feeling"

A web page

NOTE:You should check with me before using information from  ANY web page in your paper.

Plain text
If you are just mentioning the name of a web page, use the url: www.cnn.com
If you are using an article, poem, etc., from a web page, format it according to its type: "Dogfighting Co-Defendant Flips; Vick Speaks"

Your own title (the title of your paper)
Plain text
(no bold, no quotation marks, no all caps, no underline)

An Eating Disordered Nation: How the Obsession with Thinness Hurts Everyone
Banning Specific Dog Breeds Is Unfair
Responses to Global Warming
 A title within the title of your paper
Format any title within your title according to this chart.
Women and Skin Color in Uncle Tom's Cabin
Images of Flowers in "Sweat"
Why American Idol Is Destroying the United States


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