If you are writing an essay do you underline, use quotation marks or italicize the book title?


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billdelaney's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)

Book titles are italicized. If you are using a typewriter and can't write in italics, then it is customary to underline the title.  Same applies to plays. Titles of poems, short stories, essays, and other short pieces are set off in double quotes. George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant" would be in quotes, since it is only an essay. Commas and periods go inside the closing quotation mark, as for example with Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant." The English do it differently and this can create some confusion, but observe the usage in American publications.

It occurs to me that you might be referring to a collection of essays by Orwell in a book that just has the title Shooting an Elephant derived from the title of the essay. If it is a book title it should be italicized.

I have copied some examples in the links below.

yamaguchityler's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #5)

When you're writing an essay, make sure you italicize the book title instead of underlining, bolding, parentheses, or using quotation marks. 

billdelaney's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #7)

If you are using a word processor you can and should italicize book titles. However, if you are using a typewriter, I don't see how you can use italics. Before word processors came into common usage, it used to be the standard practice to underline book titles when typing. This indicated that these titles should be in italics if the manuscript was published in a book, magazine, or newspaper. If you are writing something in longhand you should also underline book titles, but I don't see how you could have any other choice, unless you happen to be artistically gifted and can make your handwriting look like italics when you want to. There may be some typewriters which allow you to switch from regular typeface to italics, but I have never seen one. No doubt the IBM Selectrics could be used to type book titles in italics if you switched from one ball to another and then back again, but that seems awfully time-consuming. 

jjrichardson's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

Do not underline or use parenthesis. Write it in italics.

katiebaby2014's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #3)


mpvilleneuve's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #4)


mlgendron7's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #6)

Assuming that you are typing, always italicize a book title. However, if you are handwriting a draft, it should be underlined.

zumba96's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #8)

Book titles are always italicized if you are typing. If you are doing a handwritten rough draft you should underline it I believe. 

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billdelaney's profile pic

Posted on (Reply #1)

How can you italicize a book title or anything else with a typewriter? You can do it easily with a word processor, but most typewriters have only one kind of type, which is not italics.

gillpill1985's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #9)

Book titles should always be placed in italics when you are typing an essay. If it is a handwritten essay don't try to do your own italics, however! When handwritten just ensure the way you choose to highlight a book is consistent and doesn't mess up your presentation.

angeljason's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #10)

Hey Admin! I desire to say that when you are writing an essay, confirm you italicize the book title rather than underlining, boding, parenthesis, or by means of quotation marks. At last I truly like your question. Thanks!

litgeek2015's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #11)

Book titles should always be italicized, unless you are handwriting the essay. In that case you would simply underline the title.

One easy way to remember which title should be italicized or put into quotation marks is to think about whether the text is one piece of a larger project or if it IS the larger project.

Let's look at some examples:

Books, films, music albums, and newspapers are all considered the larger projects. Their titles are italicized.

Short stories in a collection, songs on an album, an article in a newspaper, and a chapter in a book are all parts of larger projects and should have their titles put into quotation marks. 

When in doubt, simply think about whether your text is part of a larger whole and if you are only citing that one part or if you are citing the whole.

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