The rules for formatting in italic, roman, or in quotes are as follows, using headline-style capitalization (See also “Titles of Works—Capitalization”).

Italicize titles of:

  • art exhibitions
  • blog names
  • books
  • concerts
  • law cases
  • long poems
  • magazines
  • movies
  • newspapers
  • plays
  • podcast series
  • radio shows
  • record albums/CDs
  • ships
  • television shows
  • web publications (e.g., Salon, Slate, and BU Today)
  • works of art

Use quotation marks, with no italics, around titles of:

  • articles and papers
  • chapters
  • individual lectures
  • podcasts and individual videos
  • short poems
  • short stories
  • single TV episodes
  • songs
  • speeches
  • unpublished works, such as theses and dissertations

Use neither quotation marks nor italics for titles of:

  • apps
  • courses
  • lecture series
  • websites


Headline-style caps: in titles, capitalize the first word, proper nouns, and all other words except conjunctions, articles, and prepositions unless they come at the beginning or end of the headline. However, do capitalize a preposition that is emphasized or necessary to the verb that precedes it:

  • Speeding Up the Process
  • Calling Out for Help

Do not capitalize “to,” whether used as a preposition or part of an infinitive:

  • It’s Time to Celebrate

Capitalize short verbs like “is” and “be”:

  • Born to Be a Scholar
  • Where Is Boston University?

In a title containing a hyphenated compound, both parts are usually capitalized:

  • Long-Term Investment Strategies
  • Ready-Made Savings Plans

Capitalize titles of courses, but do not italicize or enclose in quotes:

  • Introduction to Communication Writing
  • Sociology of Race and Ethnicity


In general, follow this rule for the titles of written works:

  • Long works are italicized
  • Short works are enclosed in quotation marks
  • They will sing three arias from Carmen and “When I Am Laid in Earth” from Dido and Aeneas.

When a title is written in the musical form, capitalize and, if appropriate, italicize, but do not use quotation marks:

  • Sonata for Four Hands; Second Suite in F, Op. 28; Fanfare from La Péri; Chopin’s op. 48, no. 1

Foreign language titles in general should be italicized unless that is confusing because of other uses of italics nearby.

Capitalize the M in Major and Minor and the letter of the key preceding the word “Major” or “Minor”:

  • Mozart’s Symphony in D Major (set in roman)

When a minor key is indicated but the word “minor” is not used, the letter is lowercase:

  • The key of c (lowercase) means C Minor. C (uppercase) means C Major.