Conventions of Composition Rule 23

Rule: The titles of book-length works of fiction, poetry, or drama; movies; or collections of music should be italicized or underscored. Titles of individual poems, essays, episodes, pictures, stories, or musical compositions should be enclosed in quotation marks. The first word of the title and all other words that are not prepositions, articles, or conjunctions should be capitalized.


Correct: The Taming of the Shrew, The Inferno, The New York Times, Sister Act, "The Art of Losing," "Civil Disobedience," and The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, and "Twist and Shout."

Practice deciding how to format these titles:

  1. rita hayworth and the shawshank redemption
  2. the shawshank redemption
  3. the odyssey
  4. calypso speaks to odysseus

Resources for further explanation of formatting titles of published works:

IVCC Stylebook's Formatting of Titles in MLA Style

Writer's Relief Properly Format Titles