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

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When typing, book titles—in fact, the titles of any full-length works—should always be italicized. Titles of shorter works, such as a poem or short story, should be put in quotation marks. You should only underline the titles of full-length works if your essay is handwritten (as italics aren’t an option).


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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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...

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mlgendron7 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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caroline-engle | Student

Italicize book titles if possible. If you are writing by hand or with some other writing tool that does not allow you to italicize text, underline the title instead.

miquelle-radich | Student

Book titles should be put in italics, unless you are writing by hand, in which case you can underline them. Titles of essays and poems should be put in quotes.

litgeek2015 | Student

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.

angeljason | Student

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!

gillpill1985 | Student

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.

zumba96 | Student

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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mpvilleneuve | Student

italics.

katiebaby2014 | Student

Italics

jjrichardson | Student

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