Durham Tech Communication and Style Guide

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8. Titles of Works

The following rules of capitalization, punctuation, italics, and quotation marks apply ONLY to the use of titles of books, newspapers, magazines, musical and visual works, and other documents.

8.1 Capitalization

Always capitalize all words in a title except articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or, yet, so), the word to in an infinitive (for example, How to) and prepositions (for example, in, of, to) unless they are the first or last word of the title or longer than five letters (without, between, through).


The Chicago Manual of Style
“That Evening Sun”
“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”
The Prince and the Pauper

8.2 Punctuation and format

Punctuation is usually kept to a minimum in titles. Therefore, when giving a title within a sentence of text, add punctuation only as needed for clarity. Insert a colon between the main title and the subtitle. If there is a dash in the original title, retain it. Set off dates with commas.


We will be analyzing the short story “Babylon Revisited” before we read the related sections in Another View: The Short Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
My favorite biography, Samuel Coleridge, 1772-1803, shows how the poet began his literary career and friendships.

8.2a Titles of books, magazines, journals, newspapers, plays, movies, and artwork

Preferably, italicize these titles. When that is impossible, underline them.


The Washington Post
The Last Picture Show
The American Heritage Dictionary

8.2b Titles of poems, short stories, songs, television shows, radio programs, articles, essays, chapters, and individual sections in books

Place these titles in quotation marks.


“The Cosby Show”
“The Gift of the Magi”
“A Prairie Home Companion”
“The Raven”



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