Writing Tip #35: Punctuate Titles Correctly


Writing Tip #35: Get titles rightPunctuate titles correctly. Maybe it’s just the students I’ve encountered over the years, but I suspect this problem is epidemic: Almost no one gets titles right. If you want to stand out and impress readers – especially teachers and college professors – learn how to punctuate titles. Capitalize the first, last, and all important words in between (everything except articles, coordinating conjunctions, and short prepositions). If it’s a short work – a poem or short story for example – put the title in quotation marks. If it’s a long work, like a novel or a play, put it in italics unless you are writing by hand; in that case, underline instead (since handwriting in italics is hard). For example: “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” “The Open Window,” A Tale of Two Cities, Romeo and Juliet.


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About the Author

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. Sally Greenwood
    Sally Greenwood07-25-2016

    I used to teach students that prepositions that were five letters and larger should be capitalized where those four letters and smaller did not. However, I’ve recently noticed publications that do not capitalize prepositions following these guidelines. First, have the rules changed with online writing. Second, is my understanding of this distinction correct or incorrect? Thank you!

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