How to Write a Book Title in an Essay
If you need to include a book title in your essay, you should know how to do it properly. Fortunately, it will be easy to do if you know a few basic rules. The way you should format a book title depends on the necessary citation format. You may also type or handwrite your essay, which also determines what titles of books should look like. College-Writers team prepared this quick guide so that writing titles won’t be a problem for you.
Chicago or MLA Format
1. You should capitalize the first letters of all significant words, such as nouns, adjectives, and verbs. However, there’s no need to capitalize such words as “of,” “the,” “for,” etc. The only exception is when those insignificant words are at the beginning of the title. Thus, according to Chicago or MLA format, the title of a book should look like this: The Lord of the Rings.
2. Don’t capitalize prepositions, articles, or coordinating conjunctions. All these words are not important so you shouldn’t capitalize them. It may be difficult to spot these words at first, but you’ll quickly do it if you have enough practice.
- If you have the book title in front of you, you can just copy it.
- Articles include such words as “the,” “a,” and “an.”
- Prepositions include such words as “in,” “from,” “at,” “on,” “over,” “since,” “above,” “until,” “under,” “during,” “below,” “among,” “underneath,” “by,” “opposite,” and “next to.”
- Coordinating conjunctions include such words as “and,” “for,” “or,” “not,” “so,” “but,” and “yet.”
3. If a punctuation mark is a part of the title, you should write it in italics, like the rest of the title. For instance, sometimes titles include commas, exclamation points, or question mark. All these punctuation should be italicized: Absalom, Absalom!
4. When writing your essay, highlight the book title by hovering your cursor at it. Left-click your mouse and move the cursor from the beginning of the title to its end while holding the left mouse button. After this, lift your finger and don’t click the left button again.
5. Most word processors have the same icons for italics. Usually, italicizing looks like a letter “I” in the toolbar. Once you’ve highlighted the title, click this button. You can also click it before typing the title. In Microsoft Word, such a button may also appear if you hover the cursor over the highlighted text.
6. To remove the highlight, just left-click anywhere else in the document. If you see that your text is still italicized, just highlight it and click the “I” button once again.
7. Sometimes, you may mention a book that is a part of an anthology. In this case, you shouldn’t italicize the title. Instead, use quotation marks. An anthology includes many short works but it may also include novels. For example, you can find The Lord of the Rings published as one volume. In this case, “The Fellowship of the Ring” must be written in quotation marks.
1. Capitalize the first word in the title and all the words that are longer than four letters. APA style is somewhat similar to MLA because most words in book titles are capitalized. However, the rules are different. When dealing with APA style, the part of speech to which a word belongs doesn’t matter, and you should only take into account its length. If there is a hyphenated word, both parts must be capitalized. Besides, you should always capitalize the word after a colon or dash, even if it’s shorter than four letters: Blue River: The Trial of a Mayor-Elect.
2. If there are punctuation marks in the title (commas, question marks, etc.), you should italicize them.
3. To italicize a book title while writing, you should highlight it first. Left-click at the beginning of the title and drag the cursor to the end of the title while holding the left mouse button. Be careful not to click the left mouse button again to keep the text highlighted.
4. Italicizing looks like a letter “I” in the toolbar in most word processors. Once you’ve highlighted the title, click this button. You can also click it before typing the title. In Microsoft Word, such a button may also appear if you hover the cursor over the highlighted text.
5. Click anywhere else in your document to cancel highlighting of the title. If you see that your new text is still written in italics, just highlight it and click the “I” icon once again.
1. Capitalize titles according to the necessary citation style. When handwriting, you should use the same rules of capitalization as when typing an essay. The only difference is that you cannot use italics any longer.
- When using Chicago or MLA style, capitalize the first word of the title and all the significant words. Don’t capitalize coordinating conjunctions, articles, and prepositions.
- When using APA style, capitalize words that are longer than four letters.
2. Underline the title. If you have a long book title, we recommend that you draw a single long line rather than underlining each word separately. When using lined paper, make sure that your pen is dark enough so that your instructor can see that you’ve underlined all the titles properly.
3. Underline any punctuation marks that are a part of the title. Just follow the same rules as when italicizing titles in the typed text but use underlining instead: Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.