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Formatting Titles of Texts in MLA Style

General Rules

These rules apply to titles in the text, in parenthetical citations, and in Works Cited page entries. A title appears the same way no matter where in a document it appears. No titles are underlined. Titles never get both quotation marks and italics. Every time you mention the title of a work, even in the title of your own essay, you must apply the proper formatting.

 Formatting Titles

   In general, a title is placed in quotation marks if the source is part of a larger work. A title is italicized if the source is self-contained and independent.

·         Use quotation marks for a short story/essay/poem from an anthology/collection; episodes of television series; song titles; articles from journals; and a posting/article from a Web site.

·         Use italics for book/anthology titles; periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers); and Web sites. When a work that is normally independent (such as a novel or play) appears in a collection, the work's title remains in italics.

 On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (book)

 “House Mothers and Haunted Daughters: Shirley Jackson and Female Gothic” (journal article)

 Capitalizing Titles

   Capitalize the first letter of the major words of titles. Minor words, such as articles, prepositions, and coordinating conjunctions, are not capitalized unless they are the first word of a title or subtitle.

 “Why Boys Don’t Play with Dolls” (a short essay) 

 In the Heat of the Night (a film)