essay writing prompts

How Do You Write Book Titles in an Essay: Productive Guidelines

When you are writing an essay, you need to know when to use quotations, italics, or underline titles. First of all, you should know that the underlining and italics are interchangeable. That does not go for quotation marks.

Quotation marks are used for shorter pieces such as a short poem, a quotation, a chapter of a book, a magazine article, a song, or any shorter piece. I was once told by a teacher that if the work took a short time to create or read, it would get quotation marks for the title. So it a poem ten lines long, the title would look like this—“A Rose.”

Longer works and bigger items get underlined or italics. Usually if the piece is handwritten (the essay in which the title is used), you underline the title. Then if the essay was typed, the book title would have italics. Items that get italics (or underlined) are books, epic poems, novels, magazine names, ships, statues, and such.

When you are writing and essay, you are responsible for knowing the rules concerning titles in an essay. You also need to remember that you do not capitalize articles (a, an, and the) unless they are the first word of the book. An example would be To Kill a Mockingbird. Additionally, do not capitalize prepositions that have less than five letters and do not capitalize coordinating conjunctions such as but or for.

You should capitalize important words in a book title mentioned in an essay such as nouns, adjectives, and verbs. Of course, if the author has composed the title differently than the rules listed, you have to write the title in the way the author wanted.

As you write your essay (probably for your English or literature class), use this simple guide to help you to remember what part of a book title should be capitalized. You can also use this handy guide to determine whether the book title in your essay will get quotation marks, italics, or underlined. The rules can be confusing. Think if it is small, then use quotation marks, and if it is big, then use underlines or italics. A book will get italics or it will be underlined when you mention it in your essay. You can also book mark or print a reference to help you learn the rules concerning titles of books in essays and how you write them.