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Writing A Book Title In Your Essay – The Right Way
09 Mar 2022
📃APA Style Essay: Book Titles
✒️APA Style: The Name of The Author
📒MLA Style: Citing a Book Title
✏️Chicago Style: Book Title
📑Various Types of Titles
🖊️Underline or Italicize Book Titles
When you are writing an academic essay , the book title and author’s name should be written in italics. However, if the book title is part of a larger work (such as a journal article), then it should be placed underlined instead. So, you’re wondering how to write a book title in an essay?
In this article, we will explore how to write both titles in an essay properly so that you avoid any mistakes!
APA Style: How to Write Book Titles in Essays
When writing an essay, you must follow the style guide provided by your instructor. Some teachers may require you to use APA style and others MLA style. There are some rules on how to quote a book title in an essay. When writing book titles in essays, you should use italics and quotation marks. For example: " The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. "
When writing a book title in APA Style, you should be aware of these rules:
Write the book title in italics and place it after the author's name, which is presented in reverse order (last name first).
Use quotation marks around the headline of a chapter or article.
Capitalize proper names that are not common nouns (names of people, places, organizations), but do not capitalize words such as "and," "or," "to," or "and/or."
Do not capitalize prepositions that appear at the beginning of titles if they are followed by an article (e.g., "A," "An"), but do capitalize prepositions at the beginning of titles if they are not followed by articles ("Of").
The first word of the headline should be capitalized, as well as any other words after a colon or hyphen. For example, "The Elements of Style: Grammar for Everyone" , or "Theories of Personality: Critical Perspectives" .
Capitalize proper names and words derived from them (e.g., the names of people, places, organizations), except proper nouns used generically (e.g., 'a bed').
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APA Style Essay: Writing The Name of The Author
You should always use the full name and surname of the author in your APA essay because this will give proper credit to the writer. If you do not mention the author’s full name, people may not know who wrote what and they will think that you have copied it from somewhere else. This will cause lots of problems for you and your reputation as well.
Make sure that all authors' names appear in the same format in each entry. For example, if one person's surname is Smith and another's is Jones but both have first names starting with "J," then it may seem like they are being cited as different people when they're actually written differently from each other on separate pages in your paper.
In order to write an APA essay without any issues, there are certain rules that you need to follow while writing an author’s name in APA essay:
- Use only one author’s name in your paper unless there are multiple authors
- If there are multiple authors, then use both their last names followed by the initials of their first names
- Only use initials of first names when there are three or more authors; otherwise, use full names with their last names
Example: Johnson, M.C., Carlson, M., Smith, J. N., & Hanover, L. E.
MLA Style Essay: Citing a Book Title
Now let’s discuss how to mention a book in an essay. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition, published by the Modern Language Association (2014), contains detailed rules about how to cite a book title in an essay.
The following guidelines will instruct you on how to refer to a book in an essay in MLA style:
- List your sources at the end of your paper, before the works cited page or bibliography.
- Use italics for titles of books, magazines, and newspapers, but not for articles within those publications, which should be placed in quotation marks.
- Include all relevant information about the book under two separate categories: "title" and "author." In the former category, include both the title of the work and its subtitle if there is one; do this even if neither appears on your title page (see below). In the latter category include only primary authors who have written or edited an entire book; if there are multiple contributors you should cite them separately under each.
The general format for citing the title of book in essay is:
Author's last name, first initial (Date). Title of Book with Subtitle if there is one. Publisher Name/Location of Publisher; Year Published
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Chicago style essay: writing the book title.
One of the most important things to remember when writing in Chicago style is how to write the title of a book in an essay. To write a good book title in essay, you should follow these steps:
- Write it at the beginning of your sentence.
- Capitalize it just like any other noun or proper noun.
- Put a comma after the title, unless it's an introductory clause or phrase. For example: "The Firm," by John Grisham (not "by") and "The Catcher in the Rye," by J.D Salinger (not "and").
- In addition to the book's name, punctuation marks should also be italicized
For example: Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince: Children's Edition
Writing Various Types of Titles
Now that we covered how to write a book title and author in an essay, it’s time to look at some different types of titles. When you write a book title in an essay, there are several things to consider. Whether it's a book, series or chapter title; editor's name, or author's name, the way you write it depends on where it appears in your paper.
Here are some key rules for writing headings for novels:
- Use capital letters to write the title of the novel. For example The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett .
- Use italics as well as capital letters to write the name of the author and his/her other works mentioned in a book title. For example Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) .
When writing headings of short title poems, articles, and stories, you should put quotation marks.
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Should We Underline or Italicize Book Titles?
It depends on which style guide you use. The Modern Language Association and Chicago Manual of Style both suggest that you use italics, while the American Psychological Association suggests that you use quotation marks with a few exceptions.
The way you write the title of a book in an essay is different depending on the instructions you were given. For example, if you're writing an essay in APA style, use quotation marks around the name of the book. If you're writing for MLA or Chicago style , however, italicize the name of the book instead. If you're writing a handwritten essay instead of using a computer, capitalize and underline the name of the book instead.
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How To Write Book Titles The Proper Way: A Complete Guide For Writers
- February 10, 2022
Book titles within essays or papers can be tricky. There are specific rules that are given for how to include a book title in a way that sets it apart from the content of your writing given by the Modern Language Association. However, as with many other things in life, there are exceptions to the rules. This article will guide you through the rules of the writing style guides so that you can include a book’s title in your paper or essay correctly.
How to write book titles:
Style guides and book titles.
When it comes to book titles within text, there are a few different style guides that have rules you can follow, depending on your writing type. The three types that you will encounter most often are; MLA style, Chicago manual of style, and APA. A writing instructor will usually tell you what style guide you are expected to use for a particular essay or paper.
MLA Style Guide
The MLA handbook states that you should always italicize book titles when styling book titles within your text. The exception to this rule are religious texts. You would not italicize the Holy Bible or the sacred books or titles of other religions. Note the following example.
Pam had stayed most of the summer indoors, re-reading her favorite book series. She was already up to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone , and she didn’t regret not being more active or going outside.
In the above example, the book title is italicized. Fiction titles and nonfiction titles alike must be in italics when within the text.
Series Titles in MLA
In the above example, a book from a series was used. But what if the text had not specified which book from the series Pam was reading? Would it still need to be in italics? The answer is: in this case, yes. In other cases, sometimes.
It’s really not as confusing as it seems. When you are talking about a book series but don’t want or need to include the complete series titles for the purposes of your work, you only have to put words in italics that also appear in the book titles. So, because Harry Potter is part of the title of all of the books in the series, you would italicize his name every time you mention the book.
However, if you were talking about Katniss Everdeen, you would not have to do this, as the book series she is featured in doesn’t use her name in the titles of The Hunger Games series. The same would be true of books like the Nancy Drew books.
There are instances in which titles should be placed inside of quotation marks within a paper or essay. This is done when you cite the titles of poems , a chapter title, short stories, articles, or blogs.
So, for example, if you were to write a paper that featured a poem from a book, you would put the book title in italics and the poems cited in quotation marks.
An example of an enduring love poem is “Annabel Lee” from The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe.
Another time that quotation marks should be used is when using the title of a chapter. If you are citing a specific chapter of a book, you would enclose the title of the chapter in quotation marks, and the title of the book should be in italics.
The desperation and sadness of a man on death row can be seen in the “Wild Wind Blowing” chapter of Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song.
Short stories are another case. Much like the title of a chapter or poem, in which the title is placed in quotation marks, while the title of the book or collection it is found in is italics. The same can be said for sections, stories, or chapters cited within a literary journal.
Stepping away from his norm of horror and gore, Stephen King writes of trust, love, and regret in his story “The Last Rung on the Ladder,” which can be found in his short story collection Night Shift.
If you are citing a story or title that includes question marks, you need to make sure to italicize the question mark when citing. Keep all punctuation, such as a question mark, comma, ellipses, colon, or exclamation mark, as it is in the original individual books.
If you want a funny and irreverent read, you’ve got to try Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. Chelsea Handler has done a phenomenal job of being vulgar, relatable, and explaining life from her viewpoint in this hilarious and memorable book.
The Digital Age: Are Book Titles Underlined Anymore?
MLA style used to dictate that a book title should either be in italics or underlined. However, that is no longer the case. As computers started to take over as the major tool used in writing, it became unpopular to underline book titles. Therefore, this rule was dropped from the style guides.
However, it should be mentioned that when handwriting an essay or research paper, many instructors prefer that you underline book titles, as it’s relatively difficult to handwrite italics. If you are in a writing course or a class that is heavy on handwritten work, be sure to ask your instructor or teacher which method they prefer for citing a book title.
How to Come Up with Book Title Ideas
Now that quotation marks, italics, and style guides have been discussed, let’s move on to how you can come up with your own book title. If you’d like a title for your book that sounds interesting and will get a reader’s attention, you may find this article helpful.
Coming up with a good title for your book is a challenging yet essential marketing decision . The right title can make your target audience choose your new book off of the shelf instead of another writer’s work. Your book cover and your book title are quite possibly the most important marketing decisions you will make.
How to Choose a Good Book Title
Certain criteria should be met if you want to have a good book title , and there are specific steps involved in getting there. You may have assumed up until now that titles of books were just spur of the moment decisions made by authors or publishers, but a lot of work goes into writing good titles.
Grab the Reader’s Attention
As a general rule, you want your reader to remember your title and to sound interesting, even without the reader having seen the cover. There are several ways to do this. You can be a little dark with your title, be controversial, provoke the reader, or even be funny.
There are many examples of such works that use memorable and attention-seeking titles. The following are some different titles that are effective and would most likely provoke a reader to grab them from a shelf for closer inspection.
- Burn After Writing (Sharon Jones)
- Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (Mindy Kaling)
- Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea (Chelsea Handler)
- The Devil Wears Prada (Lauren Weisberger)
- Chicken Soup for the Soul (various authors)
- God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian (Kurt Vonnegut)
If your full title for your book is long, you may end up boring a reader or creating a situation where a reader tries to remember the title of your book, but it’s too long and ends up getting it confused with another book. Although you should always do your best to make sure that there aren’t books by other authors that share a title or have a title similar to your book (more on that in a minute), you don’t want a person to get confused and get the wrong book instead.
Research Your Title Ideas
It’s a good idea to take the titles you have considered for your book and make a list. Then, do your homework. You can use tools like Google Adwords to test out your title to see if there are others like it, or you can simply use any search engine and plug your title ideas into the search bar and see what similar or exact titles of the same words pop up.
Readers are generally busy people. They don’t have the time or the energy to ensure that writers get a title right. They’ll look for the book they are interested in, and if it proves to be too difficult, or if there are other books written that have the same title, they’ll move on to something else.
A writer really has to make sure that they have a title that isn’t going to be ignored, is interesting, isn’t too long, and isn’t too similar to other works.
The same goes for titles of short works within a larger body of work. Short works, like poems or stories, need to have unique titles as well when included in a larger body of work, such as a collection. If stories are similar in nature, be sure to title them differently so that readers will be able to tell them apart, as well.
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How to Write a Book Name in an Essay
Last Updated: January 27, 2023 References
This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Danielle Blinka is a Writer, Editor, Podcaster, Improv Performer, and Artist currently living in Houston, TX. She also has experience teaching English and writing to others. Danielle holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Master of Arts in English with a concentration in writing, and Master of Public Administration from Lamar University. This article has been viewed 49,520 times. Learn more...
When you’re writing an essay that includes a book title, it can be confusing to write the title correctly. However, it’s really easy once you know the rules. How you write the title will vary a little bit depending on the style your instructor assigns and if you are typing or handwriting the essay. Luckily, it's easy to follow the rules for writing a book name in an essay.
Typing an Essay in MLA or Chicago Style Format
- For example, you would write To Kill a Mockingbird , The Lord of the Rings , or Wuthering Heights .
- If you have the book name in front of you, you can just copy it down as it is printed.
- Articles include a, an, and the.
- Prepositions include at, in, on, of, about, since, from, for, until, during, over, above, under, underneath, below, beneath, near, by, next to, between, among, and opposite.
- Coordinating conjunctions include the FANBOYS, which are for, and, not, but, or, yet, and
- For example, you would write the name of William Faulkner’s novel Absalom, Absalom! with both the comma and the exclamation point in italics.
- If the highlight bar goes away, try again, making sure that you don’t click anywhere on the page after you highlight the book name.
- Alternatively, you can press the italicize icon before you type the title.
- If you’re using Microsoft Word to type your essay, the italicize key may appear if you hover over the highlighted book name.
- If the next word after your title appears italicized when you resume typing, simply highlight it and click the italicize icon to remove the formatting.
- For example, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is sometimes published in one volume. In this case, you could write the name of the first novel as "The Fellowship of the Ring" when citing it in an essay.
Typing an Essay in APA Format
- Capitalize the first letter of the words, not the entire word.
- If the word is a two-part hyphenated word in the title, you should capitalize both words. For example, you would write Blue River: The Trial of a Mayor-Elect .
- If there is a dash or colon in the title, you should capitalize the word after the punctuation, regardless of how long the word is. As above, you would write Blue River: The Trial of a Mayor-Elect .
- For example, you would write Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? with the question mark italicized.
- If the book name is not highlighted, left click and drag your cursor again, making sure that you don’t click again anywhere on the page.
- If you are using Microsoft Word, the italics icon may appear when you hover over the highlighted book title. It’s okay to click this key.
Handwriting an Essay
- For MLA and Chicago style essays, capitalize the first word of the book name and every word other than articles, prepositions, or coordinating conjunctions. For example, write The Lord of the Rings .
- If you’re using APA style, capitalize the first word and all words longer than 4 letters.  X Research source This means you would write Public Policy in Local Government .
- If you’re writing on lined paper, it may help to follow along the line of the paper. However, make sure your line is dark enough so that your instructor will see that you properly underlined the book name.
- For example, you would write Judy Blume’s Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by underlining the punctuation marks as well as the words.
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_general_format.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/writing_in_literature/writing_about_literature/formatting.html
- ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/underline-or-italicize-book-titles/
- ↑ https://askus.library.wwu.edu/faq/116757
- ↑ https://libguides.up.edu/apa/books_ebooks
- ↑ https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/italics-quotations/italics
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- Knowledge Base
- MLA titles: Formatting and capitalization rules
MLA Titles | How to Format & Capitalize Source Titles
Published on April 2, 2019 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on October 24, 2022.
In MLA style , source titles appear either in italics or in quotation marks:
- Italicize the title of a self-contained whole (e.g. a book, film, journal, or website).
- Use quotation marks around the title if it is part of a larger work (e.g. a chapter of a book, an article in a journal, or a page on a website).
All major words in a title are capitalized . The same format is used in the Works Cited list and in the text itself.
When you use the Scribbr MLA Citation Generator, the correct formatting and capitalization are automatically applied to titles.
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Table of contents, capitalization in mla titles, punctuation in mla titles, titles within titles, exceptions to mla title formatting, sources with no title, abbreviating titles, titles in foreign languages, frequently asked questions about mla titles.
In all titles and subtitles, capitalize the first and last words, as well as any other principal words.
What to capitalize
What not to capitalize.
Use the same punctuation as appears in the source title. However, if there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon and a space, even if different (or no) punctuation is used in the source.
Example of a work with a subtitle
The exception is when the title ends in a question mark, exclamation point or dash, in which case you keep the original punctuation:
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Sometimes a title contains another title—for example, the title of an article about a novel might contain that novel’s title.
For titles within titles, in general, maintain the same formatting as you would if the title stood on its own.
Titles and names that fall into the following categories are not italicized or enclosed in quotation marks:
- Scripture (e.g. the Bible, the Koran, the Gospel)
- Laws, acts and related documents (e.g. the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution , the Paris Agreement)
- Musical compositions identified by form, number and key (e.g. Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5 in C minor, op. 67)
- Conferences, seminars, workshops and courses (e.g. MLA Annual Convention)
Sections of a work
Words that indicate a particular section of a work are not italicized or placed within quotation marks. They are also not capitalized when mentioned in the text.
Examples of such sections include:
- list of works cited
Introductions, prefaces, forewords and afterwords
Descriptive terms such as “introduction”, “preface”, “foreword” and “afterword” are capitalized if mentioned in an MLA in-text citation or in the Works Cited list, but not when mentioned in the text itself.
Example of descriptive term capitalization
In-text citation: (Brontë, Preface )
In text: In her preface to the work, added in a later edition, Brontë debates the morality of creating characters such as those featured in Wuthering Heights .
If there is a unique title for the introduction, preface, foreword or afterword, include that title in quotation marks instead of the generic section name when referencing the source in the Works Cited list or an in-text citation.
For sources with no title, a brief description of the source acts as the title.
Example of a source reference with no title
Follow these rules for capitalization:
- Capitalize the first word
- Capitalize proper nouns
- Ignore other MLA rules for capitalization
There are some exceptions to this general format: descriptions including titles of other works, such as comments on articles or reviews of movies; untitled short messages, like tweets; email messages; and untitled poems.
Exceptions to general format for sources with no title
If you need to mention the name of a work in the text itself, state the full title, but omit the subtitle.
If you need to refer to the work multiple times, you may shorten the title to something familiar or obvious to the reader. For example, Huckleberry Finn for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn . If in doubt, prefer the noun phrase.
If the standalone abbreviation may not be clear, you can introduce it in parentheses, following the standard guidelines for abbreviations. For example, The Merchant of Venice ( MV ) . For Shakespeare and the Bible , there are well-established abbreviations you can use.
When you abbreviate a title, make sure you keep the formatting consistent. Even if the abbreviation consists only of letters, as in the MV example, it must be italicized or placed within quotation marks in the same way as it would be when written in full.
Abbreviating very long titles in the Works Cited list
Titles should normally be given in full in the Works Cited list, but if any of your sources has a particularly long title (often the case with older works), you can use an ellipsis to shorten it here. This is only necessary with extremely long titles such as the example below.
In the Works Cited list, if you are listing a work with a title in a language other than English, you can add the translated title in square brackets.
Example of a reference with a translated title
If you are using the foreign-language title in the text itself, you can also include the translation in parenthesis. For example, O Alquimista ( The Alchemist ) .
You don’t need to include a translation in your reference list or in the text if you expect your readers to be familiar with the original language. For example, you wouldn’t translate the title of a French novel you were writing about in the context of a French degree.
Non-Latin script languages
For works in a language that does not use the Latin alphabet, such as Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, or Russian, be consistent with how you mention the source titles and also quotations from within them.
For example, if you choose to write a Russian title in the Cyrillic form, do that throughout the document. If you choose to use the Romanized form, stick with that. Do not alternate between the two.
Yes. MLA style uses title case, which means that all principal words (nouns, pronouns , verbs, adjectives , adverbs , and some conjunctions ) are capitalized.
This applies to titles of sources as well as the title of, and subheadings in, your paper. Use MLA capitalization style even when the original source title uses different capitalization .
In MLA style , book titles appear in italics, with all major words capitalized. If there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon and a space (even if no colon appears in the source). For example:
The format is the same in the Works Cited list and in the text itself. However, when you mention the book title in the text, you don’t have to include the subtitle.
The title of a part of a book—such as a chapter, or a short story or poem in a collection—is not italicized, but instead placed in quotation marks.
When a book’s chapters are written by different authors, you should cite the specific chapter you are referring to.
When all the chapters are written by the same author (or group of authors), you should usually cite the entire book, but some styles include exceptions to this.
- In APA Style , single-author books should always be cited as a whole, even if you only quote or paraphrase from one chapter.
- In MLA Style , if a single-author book is a collection of stand-alone works (e.g. short stories ), you should cite the individual work.
- In Chicago Style , you may choose to cite a single chapter of a single-author book if you feel it is more appropriate than citing the whole book.
The title of an article is not italicized in MLA style , but placed in quotation marks. This applies to articles from journals , newspapers , websites , or any other publication. Use italics for the title of the source where the article was published. For example:
Use the same formatting in the Works Cited entry and when referring to the article in the text itself.
The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition , published in 2021.
This quick guide to MLA style explains the latest guidelines for citing sources and formatting papers according to MLA.
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How to Write a Book Title in MLA Formatting
by Joe Bunting | 0 comments
You're writing a paper for school and suddenly you stop in the middle of the sentence. You have to write a book title, but you don't how to format it. How do you format a book title in MLA style? Good news: you're in the write place (sorry, I had to).
In this post, we'll talk about MLA style and formatting, whether it's appropriate for your project, and most importantly, how to write a book title in MLA style.
What Is MLA?
MLA stands for Modern Language Association, a society primarily based in the United States but with international standing, that has a mission to “strengthen the study and teaching of language and literature”. Founded in the late 1800s by an American novelist and professor, MLA publishes a set of resources used by students and teachers, including the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers .
The MLA handbook is one of the main style manuals for students and scholars in the world, especially for anyone studying literature, film, or theater.
Should You Format Based on MLA Style?
If you're writing a paper for a class in literature, theater, or film, absolutely use MLA style. Outside of that, it depends. Here are the most frequent style guides associated with various disciplines:
- Literature, Film, Theater: MLA
- Psychology: APA
- Science (Physics, Biology, Chemistry): CSE or APA
- Journalism: AP
- Mathematics: AMA
- Publishing: Chicago
You can find a full list of international style guides here .
Now that you know if you should be using MLA style, how do you format a book title with it?
How to Format a Book Title in MLA Style: Example
In MLA style, book titles are italicized, as so:
Henry Thorough argues in Walden that the best life is lived in deliberate simplicity so as to discover what life truly is about.
In fact, most style guides, including MLA and Chicago style, require book titles to be italicized , not underlined.
If the book title has a subtitle, the subtitle should be italicized as well and separated by a colon to be formatted correctly for MLA style, as in:
Natural History of the Intellect: the last lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson
Should You Underline Book Titles in MLA Style?
If you are using MLA style, you should not underline book titles. Instead, italicize the titles.
However, AP style, the guide used by journalists, suggests putting titles in quotation marks, not italicization.
Still, I wouldn't recommend underlining a book's title. In fact, I couldn't find a single style guide that requires book titles to be underlined, but if you know of one that does, let me know in the comments!
Which style guide do you use most? MLA? Chicago? APA? AP? Or do you just write based on your own rules?! Let me know in the comments .
Let's cement this formatting lesson in our minds by putting it to use right away with the following writing exercise .
What are your favorite books of all time? Write about what you love about them and why they are your favorites for fifteen minutes . Make sure to use the correct formatting for each title!
When your time is up, post your practice in the comments section . And if you post, please be sure to read a few practices by other writers and share your feedback with them.
Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).
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How to Write a Book Title in an Essay
Underline? Quotation marks? Punctuation? Something else? What is the proper solution for writing the title of a book in an essay? Does it really exist? And what rule should we stick to? We’re going to answer these and many more questions in the following article. So, make yourself comfortable and keep reading!
Proper Ways to Write Book Titles in The Essays
As time goes by the rules of writing are gradually changing. Things, which were acceptable and correct many years ago, are considered to be outdated today. The rules of writing and formatting have also changed a lot. For example, book titles. We can’t simply write a book title in our college essay if we don’t know principle rules and standards. This can be new to students, but not to their teachers, instructors, or any professional coursework writing service. So, let’s dip into the secrets and grammar rules of writing the titles of the books in your papers properly.
Professional educational associations and organizations recommend students use italics to write the titles of the books. This rule applies to magazines and newspapers as well. For example, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, etc.
Other style guides allow using double quotation marks for the title of the books. For example, “The House of the Seven Gables” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Stranger” by Albert Camus, “The Great Gatsby” by Francis Scott Fitzgerald, etc. In this case, we do not use italics anymore. Only quotation marks.
Though there are different thoughts on how to write the title of the books properly, the main thing is to be consistent with one style throughout the whole essay. You can’t change italics in the first paragraph to double quotation marks in the second paragraph in the same essay. Just pick one of them.
Each word in the title of the book should be written with a capitalized letter, except for prepositions like at, of, in, on, etc. For example, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Truman Capote, “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf, “A River Runs Through It and Other Stories” by Norman Maclean, “Lord of the Flies” by William Gerald Golding, etc.
Generally, the capitalization rule is a must. But italics and double quotation marks depend on your personal or your teachers’ personal preference. However, some sources recommend using double quotation marks instead of italics if the book is a part of a larger work (story or poem collection). At the same time, they recommend using italics for independent works.
As we can see, each style guide has its own preference and advice depending on the type and style of writing. It is always better to consult with your instructor or professor to make the right decision and to get the best possible result.
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How to Write a Book Title in an Essay (MLA, APA etc.)
Formatting your essay correctly ensures that you get full recognition for the hard work you put into it. Wondering what to do? There are two scenarios that lead you to the question of “how to write a book title in an essay”:
- You have not been required to use a particular style guide, in which case consistency remains important.
- You have been instructed to use a particular style guide. You now simply need to ensure that you are familiar with its rules.
Regardless of which of these scenarios holds true for you, this guide is here to help.
How to Write a Book Title in an Essay
Many style manuals call on writers use title case and italics to format a book title. Title case rules vary slightly from one style guide to the next, but generally capitalize all important words — nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adverbs. Conjunctions and prepositions are not capitalized unless they are very long (generally more than four letters) or they appear at the beginning or end of a book title.
Writers who are not required to work with a specific style manual can’t go wrong if they stick to this style. Some examples would be:
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals That Protect us From Violence by Gavin de Becker
- The Cat With a Feathery Tail and Other Stories by Enid Blyton
If, on the other hand, you’re required to use a style guide, it will likely be one of these:
- MLA, commonly used in disciplines relating to literature and social sciences.
- APA, commonly used in psychology and other sciences.
- Chicago, often used in the publishing industry.
- Harvard style, commonly used in philosophy and social sciences.
These are certainly not the only “big players” in the style guide world, but they’re ones it’s good to be familiar with. There is overlap between these styles, but there are also major differences — so knowing one definitely does not mean you know the others, too.
Guidelines for Writing a Book Title in an Essay
Looking for a short and sharp answer, so you can get on with the rest of your essay? This is it.
This quick guide will help you reference the book title of your choosing in the body of your essay, but what about your Works Cited pages? Each style guide offers different rules, and we’ll use the same book as an example to illustrate the differences.
- MLA uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Book . City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Year. Example: Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game. Tor Books, 1985. (You only have to detail the city of publication if the book was published before 1900, the publisher has offices in many localities, or the publisher is not known in the US.)
- APA uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Name. (Year of Publication). Title of book. Example: Card, Orson Scott. (1985). Ender’s game.
- Chicago style uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Name. Book Title: Subtitle . Place of publication: Publisher, Year. Example: Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game . Tor Books, 1985.
- Harvard uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Initial. (Publication Year). Title . ed. City: Publisher. Example: Card, O. (1985). Ender’s Game. Tor Books.
If, after researching, you cannot find relevant information about publication years, publishers, or the city in which a book was published, you may omit it. For a full guide, it is always best to have a physical copy of the latest edition of the style manual you are using. You can, however, get by without this if you need to.
Should you still not know what to do, it will be helpful for you to know that you can “generate” citations for a particular style manual with the help of online tools like Cite Me . These are not always accurate, so if you decide to use one, always check the citation manually.
Why Is Proper Formatting Important?
All of the well-known style manuals ultimately serve the very same set of purposes, although they were each developed for a particular niche. The goals of these style manuals are both explicit and implicit:
- Following a style guide ensures consistency throughout a document, in this case an essay.
- Consistency ensures that reader’s understand precisely what the writer is talking about, without exerting any effort on figuring that out. Clarity is especially important in academic writing.
- By using a style guide within a certain discipline, you show that you understand the rules within that discipline. This adds credibility to your voice as a writer. You have done your homework, have ideally bought the style manual, and are part of the “in group”.
- Sticking to a certain style guide makes it easier for relevant parties to check your references, which they can then use to perform further research.
Students are increasingly asked to refer to style guides at all levels, including in high school. In this case, formatting your essay correctly, in accordance with the right style manual, serves two additional purposes:
- You’ll lose points if you don’t do it right, offering you an additional reason to do your research.
- Getting used to these formats prepares you for further education. If you are in high school, it prepares you for college-level writing. If you are an undergraduate student, it prepares you for academic work at the graduate and post-graduate levels.
Can you start an essay with a book title?
Yes, you can start an essay with a book title. This is a valid stylistic choice, but you will always want to consider your introduction carefully.
How do you write a book title in handwriting?
Students sometimes ask whether it is acceptable to underline book titles instead of italicizing them. This practice indeed stems from a time in which most students wrote their essays by hand. Although it has largely fallen out of practice now, you can still underline a book title if you are handwriting your essay.
How do you write a book title and chapter in an essay?
You should mention the chapter title first: “Rat” from Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Consult the relevant style manual to ensure you get the formatting right.
Can you shorten a book title in an essay?
Yes, you can. Reference the full title the first time you mention it (for example: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things ). The next time you mention the book, you may simply refer to Furiously Happy .
- 1 How to Write a Book Title in an Essay
- 2 Guidelines for Writing a Book Title in an Essay
- 3 Why Is Proper Formatting Important?
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To write a good book title in essay, you should follow these steps: Write it at the beginning of your sentence. Capitalize it just like any other noun or proper noun. Put a comma after the title, unless it's an introductory clause or phrase.
How to write book titles: Style Guides and Book Titles When it comes to book titles within text, there are a few different style guides that have rules you can follow, depending on your writing type. The three types that you will encounter most often are; MLA style, Chicago manual of style, and APA.
Book Names in APA Method 1 Typing an Essay in MLA or Chicago Style Format 1 Capitalize the first letter of all nouns, verbs, and adjectives in the book name. Most words in the book name will be capitalized. In addition to the first word, you'll capitalize every significant word. 
Italicize the title of a self-contained whole (e.g. a book, film, journal, or website). Use quotation marks around the title if it is part of a larger work (e.g. a chapter of a book, an article in a journal, or a page on a website). All major words in a title are capitalized. The same format is used in the Works Cited list and in the text itself.
If you are using MLA style, you should not underline book titles. Instead, italicize the titles. However, AP style, the guide used by journalists, suggests putting titles in quotation marks, not italicization. Still, I wouldn't recommend underlining a book's title.
Each word in the title of the book should be written with a capitalized letter, except for prepositions like at, of, in, on, etc. For example, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Truman Capote, “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf, “A River Runs Through It and Other Stories” by Norman Maclean, “Lord of the Flies” by William Gerald Golding, etc.
You can use the following tips to help you craft compelling essay titles: Write the essay first: Wait until you have finished writing to begin drafting its title. At this point, you will have a better idea of the primary messages included in your essay that you can use to guide the title.
How to Write a Book Title in an Essay Many style manuals call on writers use title case and italics to format a book title. Title case rules vary slightly from one style guide to the next, but generally capitalize all important words — nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adverbs.