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Spooky Song Names In Essays

I love music. I’ve been teaching myself to play guitar, and I can stumble my way through four or five songs without wanting to poke holes in my eardrums, but my main appreciation for music is when other people play it. I’m an avid Spotify user, and I take a lot of pride in my ability to make kickass playlists. One of my girlfriends has even given me the green light to create her hypothetical wedding reception playlist.

So obviously, when I write about a song or album, I know when to use quotation marks and when to use italics. Let’s discuss.

Photo by Jo.Anne11

Here’s how it works:

Song Titles in “Quotes”

Song titles are always surrounded by quotation marks, like *NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye,” or “A Whole New World” from Disney’s Aladdin.

Album Titles in Italics

Album titles, on the other hand, are always italicized. For example, while I will openly admit to loving Journey’s power ballad “Faithfully,” I think pretty much every song on their Greatest Hits album should be sung at karaoke nights across the country.

Other Italics Questions

Of course, lots more media have titles than just songs and albums. There are books, short stories, podcasts, TV shows, episodes . . . the list goes on and on. Want more italics advice? Check out our ultimate title-writing guide for answers to all your italics conundrums.


Sunday night was the closing ceremony of the Olympics, and I don’t know if you were paying attention, but the Spice Girls were there and dancing it up (well, except for Posh).

Take fifteen minutes and write about the hypothetical conversation the ladies of the group had in determining the songs they would play for the ceremony (or any other band in any other situation is fine too). Post your practice in the comments, and leave notes for other writers brave enough to publish as well.

Liz Bureman

Liz Bureman has a more-than-healthy interest in proper grammatical structure, accurate spelling, and the underappreciated semicolon. When she's not diagramming sentences and reading blogs about how terribly written the Twilight series is, she edits for the Write Practice, causes trouble in Denver, and plays guitar very slowly and poorly. You can follow her on Twitter (@epbure), where she tweets more about music of the mid-90s than writing.


Recent TV series stuff moved to: Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (television).


What about the titles of video and computer games? I'm seeing both italic and non-italic forms used (in the same article no less), and a standard would be nice. DopefishJustin 00:28, Apr 17, 2004 (UTC)

Italics, surely. --Paul A 02:56, 4 May 2004 (UTC)
I've been italicizing them for awhile, so I just added games. I couldn't come up with any good examples, but I suppose individual scenarios should be in "quotes". It seems intuitive, but it will take a long time to permeate, I imagine. I usually put whatever style rule I am following in the edit summary, figuring that's a good way for people following that topic, popular music, for instance, to hear about "album titles in italics, song titles in "quotes"" Ortolan88

What about the titles of trademarked tabletop games and board games (Cluedo, Dungeons & Dragons, Monopoly, HeroQuest, etc., but not chess, checkers, go) — I assume they're italicized, too? --Muchness 15:38, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

I haven't found anything in Wikipedia that says to italicize games, so I checked the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition. The only thing I could find was paragraph 8.162, which concerns trademarks. Monopoly and Scrabble are examples that are not italicizied.Scwlong (talk) 01:32, 30 December 2008 (UTC)


Books includes novels and novellas, correct? Hyacinth 16:55, 7 May 2004 (UTC)

Sure, including any subtitles for non-fiction works. Ortolan88

Foreign languages[edit]

Shouldn't this page also include a guide (or at least an example) for the titles of works with titles in foreign languages other than English? Like Camus' The Stranger (L'Etranger)? leandros 22:23, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

In practice, if you refer to the French version only, it is italicized for two reasons, title and foreign language. If you give the English title and the French, both should be italicized, as in "Albert Camus wrote L'Etranger (The Stranger)." Ortolan88 05:05, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think that translations/transliterations should always go before the original foreign title, if it uses another alphabet. I believe this is consistant with current WP policy on articles named after foreign words. Thus in your first example, the Battleship Potemkin article would be incorrectly titled, and the Cyrillic should follow the translation. -- Sean Kelly 18:36, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Here is my attempt at a guide for titles in foreign languages. Some of this is condensed this from a previous discussion at: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style archive (foreign languages).


  • Books, movies and other media that were translated or renamed for their English publication or distribution should be created using the name they are best known by English speakers. Camus' novel would be found at The Stranger and not by its orignal title L'Étranger.
  • There can also be a redirect from the literal translation or other names it is known by. For example: Ladri di biciclette, the 1948 Italian film could be listed as The Bicycle Thief, the name of the film in the US, and also by the more accurate translation Bicycle Thieves which was used in the UK.
  • A work commonly known by its foreign language title should be created using that name or transliteration.
Examples: Clair de Lune, Mein Kampf and Rashomon
  • The beginning of the article should have the name in the foreign language using the native spelling as published. Examples:
"L'Étranger (Known in English as The Stranger, also translated as The Outsider) is the 1942French novel..."
"Ladri di biciclette (Literal translation: Bicycle Thieves, but known by the name The Bicycle Thief in the US) is a 1948 Italian neorealist film about a man who..."


  • If a foreign language title is mentioned within the text of an article, both the original foreign language title of publication, and the English title by which it is commonly known should be included. If the English version is not an accurate translation, an accurate translation should also be included. In some languages a transliteration of the foreign title is also useful. This is recommended for works of literature, theatre, cinema and most other arts. This might not be necessary for some works of music (For example: Symphony #3 in D minor)
  • The article's author can decide if the original foreign language title goes first or the English name does. Once decided, the author should be consistent. The second name should be in parenthesis. The English name can be linked to the English language article about the work. It might be useful sometimes to link the foreign language version to the foreign language article.
"In 1942 Camus's novel L'Étranger (The Stranger) was published..."
"Hirosi Teshigahara is well known for the film Woman in the Dunes (砂の女 - Suna no onna)..."
  • Once a title is introduced in a foreign spelling, its translation or transliteration can be used instead of the native spelling whenever it makes the article easier to read (such as The Stranger example above). This should be done in a consistent manner throughout the article.
  • Lists of works should have the original language first whenever possible.
"De Sica wrote and directed together with scenarist Cesare Zavattini: Sciuscià (Shoeshine - 1946), Ladri di Biciclette (The Bicycle Thief, 1948) and Miracolo a Milano (Miracle in Milan, 1950)..."
This example is from the academy awards for best foreign film:
  • Ieri, oggi, domani (Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow) (Italy) - Compagna Cinematografica Champion, Les Films Concordia - Carlo Ponti producer - Vittorio De Sica director
  • Kvarteret korpen (Raven's End) (Sweden) - Europa Film - producer - Bo Widerberg director
  • סאלח שבתי - Sallah Shabbati (Israel) - Sallah Company, Sallah Ltd. - Menahem Golan producer - Ephraim Kishon director
  • Les parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg ) (France) - Beta Film GmbH, Madeleine Films, Parc Film - Mag Bodard, Philippe Dussart producers - Jacques Demy director
  • 砂の女 - Suna no onna (Woman in the Dunes) (Japan) - Teshigahara Productions, Toho - Kiichi Ichikawa, Tadashi Oono producers - Hiroshi Teshigahara director "
--Samuel Wantman 10:38, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)
revised --Samuel Wantman 00:56, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)


I agree in general.

I disagree however with the idea that both the original foreign title and an English translation should always appear in articles. That should be up to the editors. It would be extraordinarily pedantic, for example, to always indicate in casual mentions that The Three Musketeers translates Les Trois mousquetaires, or that Crime and Punishment translates Prestuplenie i nakazanie, or that The Golden Ass translates the a nickname title Asinus Aureus given to the book but in fact the original title of the work is Metamorphoses. One might as well also insist that every mention of a Biblical book must also contain its Hebrew or Greek name. No-one follows such a procedure outside of Wikipedia. For most works, it would be enough that a full discussion of the title appears once only in Wikipedia. Elsewhere, when a foreign work is known mostly in English under one familiar title (whether the original name or a translation or by something else) that familiar title is the one which should normally appear alone). Where a work is often known by more than one title in English texts, then there is more reason to provide both titles more often.

Nor should editors always use a translation of a title instead of the original foreign name, just because a translation has been introduced. Les Misérables can be translated The Wretches, and it might be useful to so indicate, but no-one uses such a translation of the title in discussing that work. Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur retains that title universally in discussion, though an article should mention that it means The Death of Arthur. Molière's Le Malade imaginaire can be translated as The Hypocondriac, but it is the French title that normally appears, even on English translations of the play. In English people say The Odyssey, not About Odysseus and speak of Ovid's Metamorphoses, not of Ovid's Transformations. On the other hand, it is customary to refer to Ovid's The Art of Love and to Herodotus' Persian Wars rather than to the original Latin and Greek titles of those works. In all this, custom should rule, and where custom is mixed then individual decisions by editors should be made.

Editors writing in particular areas mostly know artistic works are normally referred to in English and should follow normal custom, using forms most likely to be found in discussions outside Wikipedia. If in doubt, just follow one's sources.

Also, I suggest: "Lists of works should have the original language first unless custom or particular other reason suggests otherwise". There are reasons. For example, Dostoyevsky's works are almost all mostly known in English by English translations of their titles, while Molière's works are mostly known by their original French titles. This seems to me good reason to list Dostoevsky's works entirely by English title in a bibliography while listing Molière's by their original French titles. But Jules Verne's French scientific romances could be listed by their English titles. But I see nothing wrong either with them being listed by French title instead, as is currently the case.

Jallan 03:09, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I don't see what purpose this serves, given that we already have style for foreign languages in general. This just seems to add more complication. Maurreen 05:11, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Should the names of typefaces be italicised? It seems that there is no consensus on that, since the current articles dealing with fonts and typefaces mix italics with non-italics even within the same article. See, for example, Garamond. — David Remahl 03:26, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I don't remember ever seeing the names of typefaces italicized in the type books I've read. — Flamurai 03:51, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I agree with no italics. Maurreen 05:19, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Should the titles of comic books be italicized? Jason One 00:20, 13 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Also, what about newspaper comic strips like Dilbert and Calvin and Hobbes, or Web comics like Penny Arcade? There doesn't seem to be any set standard for these. In those examples, Dilbert is either put in double quotes or italicized, Calvin and Hobbes is italicized, and Penny Arcade is written without any stylization. Jason One 00:16, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I would vote no. Maurreen 00:40, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Could you clarify? Are you saying "no" all three of those things (comic books, newspaper comic strips, and Web comics)? Jason One 01:07, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I would be against all three. But I rarely use italics. Maurreen 16:01, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

We all seem to have a lot of minor differences in this area. Perhaps our time would best be served if we made a very clear recommendation in the Manual that it exactly doesn't matter how you choose to format, as long as it is consistant throughout the entire article. -- Sean Kelly 01:06, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • A series like The Sandman or Dilbert should be italicized the same as a magazine would be (e.g. Time). However the individual stories within the comic book or series should be within quotes (e.g. "Calliope" from Sandman). —Mike 23:13, Dec 13, 2004 (UTC)

Song titles[edit]

Could someone explain why song titles are treated differently from most other similar titles? I've always thought that song titles should be italicized, and have formatted articles I've written accordingly. The quotation marks look wrong to me, and make pages with lots of song titles look scrappy. But this is just my opinion and possibly misguiding knowledge about style. I don't see why they should be treated differently from titles of books, or why there should be a distinction between popular song titles and the titles of orchestral works, for example. A quick flick through som emusic mags seems to back me up on this - all titles are generally italicized when quoted within a body of text. Graham 05:56, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I believe song titles usually go in quotes instead of italics because songs are fairly short. Similarly, an article title would go in quotes and a book title would usually be in italics. Maurreen 16:01, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
This is an unconvincing distinction (though I know it's one that's been made by many style referees over the years). Uniformity and precision would seem to outweigh arbitrary judgments about the size of a work.
Still, I say this as someone who thinks quotation marks are preferable to italics in all of these cases. In this arena, I'm an adherent of the AP stylebook -- or "The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual," as it were. Semolina Pilchard 23:05, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Song titles are not really treated differently from other titles. According to modern conventions for works written after the introduction of moveable type, the title of a book or journal or magazine is rendered in italics but the title of a smaller work within a book or journal or magazine is placed within quotation marks. Accordingly the titles of short stories and poems and articles are rendered between quotation marks. The same rules are applied to recordings. The title of an album or individual disc recording or tape recording or CD is put into italics, but individual songs from the media are placed within quotation marks. Conventions are different and more inconsistant for medieval works and earlier works and there is more tendency to put anything that stands on its own into italics, regardless of its size.
From The Oxford Guide to Style:

Use roman in quotation marks for single songs, arias, individual movements and pieces within a suite, and tracks on albums and CDs. This includes 'popular' names (i.e. those not furnished by the composer) ... This results in the combination of, for example, Inspector Morse's 'The Dead of Jericho' (italic for series, roman in quotation marks for episode); 'Born to Run', from Born to Run (roman in quotation marks for song, italic for album).

From The Chicago Manual of Style (8.202):

Titles of operas, oratorios, tone poems, and other long musical compositions are italicized. Titles of songs are set in roman and enclosed in quotation marks, capitalized in the same way as poems (see 8.191–92).


Recordings. The name of an album is italicized, that of the performer or ensemble set in roman. Individual items in the album—songs, movements, and the like—are treated as illustrated in the paragraphs above.

This is, they are set within quotation marks but not italicized.
Jallan 03:37, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)
The Chicago Manual of Style is our reference for the US style. When one is writing in UK style, not just the spelling, but the punctuation and other features should match the UK style DGG 03:03, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Classical music titles[edit]

Classical music titles follow their own set of conventions. It's convenient – but not correct – to just say "italicize them all!" The general convention is as follows:

(Original version removed. See below for more refined version.)

The logic behind this is simple. Since the name of a form is more of a description of the work than a title, it could be stated in different ways (for example: Concerto No. 5 for Piano and Orchestra, Piano Concerto No. 5, Fifth Piano Concerto). The given name of a piece functions as a single unit, and cannot be separated or rewritten. That is why it's italicized (or placed in quotes).

I really feel that Wikipedia should embrace the standard in the classical music world instead of taking the lazy "italicize everything" approach used by most newspapers.

— Flamurai 01:49, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)

At least in the USA, most newspapers italicize very little. Maurreen 05:19, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Also, I wonder whether this list can be made a little more concise. Maurreen 05:26, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It can definitely be made more concise. I purposely made it lengthy to give extra examples and explanation. I'll work on a more refined version and post an update. — Flamurai 07:19, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Here's a more refined version. — Flamurai 08:50, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Classical music titles[edit]

Generic titles, such as the names of forms, are set in roman type. This includes titles of Latin liturgical works.

True titles — titles given by the composer — are italicized. When true titles are mixed with generic titles, as is often the case in overtures and suites, only the true title is italicized. The generic portion of the title remains in roman type. It is the author's discretion whether to use the original version or the English translation of the true title. Typically, the better known form should be used.

Often, works are known by a nickname or common title. In this case, the nickname is specified after the formal title in parentheses and quotation marks. When the nickname is used in prose, it is enclosed in quotes.

Song titles are enclosed in quotes. True titles of song cycles are italicized. Foreign language song titles remain in roman type.

Generic movement titles (such as tempo markings) are capitalized and in roman type. True movement titles are enclosed in quotation marks. When referred to by number in prose, the word movement is lowercase, and arabic numbers (or their English equivalents) are used.

The abbreviation op. (opus) is set with a lowercase o, as it is a common noun. K. (Köchel), BWV (Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis), and D. (Deutsch) are capitalized, as they abbreviate proper nouns. All remain in roman type.

Key signatures are specified with a single capital letter A–G — followed by a hyphen and "flat" or "sharp" if appropriate — for the root of the key always followed by either "major" or "minor" with a lowercase m. They are set in roman type.

The formal title of a work from the classical repertoire includes its genre or performing force, key, and index number. For modern works, the key and/or index number may not exist, but the genre or performing force should always be specified. On Wikipedia, formal titles are used the first time a work is mentioned on its own page. Informal titles may be used everywhere else, but they must follow the style rules.

Usage examples[edit]

Formal title: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, op. 95 ("From the New World")
Prose usage: Allegro con fuoco from Dvořák's Ninth Symphony

Formal title: Trio No. 6 for piano, violin, and violoncello in B-flat major, op. 97 ("Archduke")
Acceptable alternative: Piano Trio No. 6 in B-flat major, op. 97 ("Archduke")
Prose usage: Beethoven's "Archduke" Trio, first movement

Formal title:Also sprach Zarathustra, tone poem for orchestra, op. 30
Prose usage: "Of Science and Learning" from Also sprach Zarathustra

Formal title: Symphonic Dances for orchestra from West Side Story
Prose usage: "Meeting Scene" from Symphonic Dances from West Side Story

Formal title:Dichterliebe, song cycle for voice and piano, op. 48
Prose usage: "Wenn ich in deine Augen seh'" from Dichterliebe

Formal title: Requiem for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, K. 626
Prose usage: Kyrie from Mozart's Requiem

Example lead sentence[edit]

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, op. 125 ("Choral"), is the final symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven.

— Flamurai 08:50, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Sorry, I appreciate what you're doing, but I still think it's a little complicated and more than what most people want to know. Maybe it would be good to give a summary of no more than three paragraphs in the main page, and then link to different page with all this information. Maurreen 05:38, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

That's fine. I think there should be a music manual of style, anyway. I realize it's specialized information, but just because it's complicated isn't an excuse to leave it incorrect. — flamuraiº 06:00, Dec 14, 2004 (UTC)

Italicize names of spacecraft?[edit]

As I was reading the (excellent) Cassini-Huygens article, I was about to italicize Cassini and Huygens as names of spacecraft, but a quick search (for example, Voyager 1, Mariner 3 showed no signs of italics. I couldn't find any clarification in the Wikipedia's Manual of Style. I checked Chicago (15th ed.), which said that spacecraft should be italicized while space programs should not. They gave the examples Apollo 11 but Project Apollo. As I understand it,Voyager 1 and Mariner 3 should be italicized then, right? With Cassini-Huygens of course one would have to determine whether one was referring to the project or to the spacecraft, but I think most of the references in the article would have to be italicized. I'd appreciate any feedback on this, and possibly a line added to the Manual of Style for future clarification, especially if we decide not to follow Chicago's style. For the record, I do think we should italicize all spacecraft. — Knowledge Seeker দ (talk) 23:08, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I should think spacecraft would be treated just like (naval) ships. Aren't the latter typically italicized? — Jeff Q 00:50, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Yes, they are. And we also italicize fictional starships like "USS Enterprise" and "USS Defiant". I just hesitated because it seemed so many articles here didn't have the italics. Well, I am going to start italicizing, and unless anyone objects, I would like to add the word spacecraft and an example or two to the Manual of Style as well. — Knowledge Seeker দ (talk) 06:13, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Both your italicizing and your MoS update sound reasonable to me, as this appears not to contradict existing policy and is more in line with current policy than the frequent practice of non-italicizing. (I would try to be brief, though, on the MoS change, and not make a special case of spaceships, but rather include it as policy for italicizing craft of all kinds, adding a spacecraft example. Many people object, understandably, to too much specificity and detail in the MoS. I know from personal, intensely painful experience. ☺) I think this is one of those many formatting irregularities that various groups are going through Wikipedia and tweaking. (My personal favorites are adding final serial commas and italicizing movie, book, and album titles.) — Jeff Q 07:24, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Thank you, Jeff. I have done as you suggested. — Knowledge Seeker দ (talk) 10:49, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Visual art title style policy conflict[edit]

Following a question on the Village Pump, I've noticed that there's a bit of a gap/conflict regarding our title style for works of visual art. The main page of the Manual of Style indicates that titles of "works of visual art" should be in italics.

On the other hand, this page tells us that the names of statues should appear in quotation marks. There is no guidance here regarding other types of visual art (the specific Pump question dealt with paintings, for example).

My preferred style is to go with the guidance on the main page and put 'em all in italics, but I would be content if we could just settle on a single uniform policy.--TenOfAllTrades(talk) 03:29, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Short films[edit]

I would go with italics for individual short film titles that have been released as is, although this depends a lot on context. For titles that are part of a greater whole, e.g. segments in compilation movies, anthologies, what not, I'd use quotation marks. Also for commercial short films? Most if not all short films are in italics on wikipedia. How wrong am I? I havent found anything on this from an outside source other than the "films in italics", no mention of shotness or lack of. Then again, what is a "short" film? Any thoughts? --Ajshm 21:56, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Roleplaying game systems?[edit]

So we should italicize book titles, movie titles and various other titles, but not roleplaying game system titles, such as Hero System, Rolemaster, GURPs, Powers & Perils or Hârnmaster? I think this is an oversight; the titles of RPG rules systems (but not the names of worlds, such as Hârn or Tekumel - an important distinction) deserve italicization just as much as book or movie titles do. Peter Knutsen 15:20, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

Do we have a style now? If not, my preference would be to use quotation marks. But I don't feel strongly, especially if your view is supported by an authoritative reference. Maurreen 16:43, 23 July 2005 (UTC)
Coming in a little late to this party, but I have a few thoughts. The System of a game is different than the book itself- the d20 system being foremost amongst examples. I think any roleplaying book should be italicized, but Dungeons & Dragons is more than just books. The long & the short of what I'm saying is, I guess, that Dungeons & Dragons isn't neccisarily the same as Dungeons & Dragons. I don't know of any citation guides for games, though. An interesting point. --mordicai. 20:28, 16 August 2007 (UTC)


The section dealing in song titles and subtitles is wrong.

Double-quotes are supposed to be reserved ONLY for direct quotes. Titles should be in single-quotes.

Example: The first Star Trek episode aired, 'Where No Man has Gone Before', was not the first episode filmed.

There is no generally accepted, single approach (no categorical "supposed to be" or "should"); different style guides and house-styles use different approaches. Whichever Wikipedia decides it wants to use is what editors should use. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 09:30, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

Strongly disagree.[edit]

There are two generally accepted approaches, the UK and the US. In UK style, the single quote is used first, and in US style the opposite. These are the most immediately obvious distinctions between the styles. We seem to have agreed to use UK style for articles about UK people or things , and the US for US. see Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#National_varieties_of_EnglishDGG 03:03, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

That section now says that it applies only to spelling and grammar, not to punctuation.
See also the end of WP:PUNC:
If a word or phrase appears in an article in single quotes, such as 'abcd', Wikipedia's search facility will find that word or phrase only if the search string is also within single quotes. This difficulty does not arise for double quotes, and this is one of the reasons the latter are recommended.
For this reason, I often change single quotes to doubles except in the cases of nested quotations and (arguably) direct quotations using single quotes (though MOS:QUOTE appears to support changing these where possible).—Dah31 (talk) 19:52, 14 May 2009 (UTC)


I can't find anywhere that explains the use of capitalisation in titles (exclusion of articles & prepositions, etc.). I'd thought that it must be here, but it isn't. Can someone point me in the right direction? Thanks. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 23:14, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

I think it may be regional. RichFarmbrough 15:19, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
I understood, though, that the Chicago manual, hart's Rules, and other manuals agreed on it (with minor differences; I've seen one variation that prepositions over four words be capitalised, for example). It's not so much the general question, though, as the Wikipedia policy in which I'm interested. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 11:14, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
To be specific, the question is whether a song title originally debuted on a vinyl album as "Pick Up Sticks" and reissued on a CD as "Pick Up Sticks" should be "Pick up Sticks" (decapitalized 'u') or "Pick Up Sticks" (as it appeared on the album & its reissue). ¦ Reisio 19:11, 18 November 2005 (UTC)
I found this site which I think has a very logical way of putting it: According to them, you would use "Pick Up Sticks", whether it is technically correct or not, because it was issued twice with that capitalization, suggesting that is the artist's intended choice.

What is the method for changing the capitalisation of a Wikipedia article title?Agamus 19:15, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Use the “move” tab at the top of the article page. Note that article titles are not the subject of this section of the Manual of Style. For titles of articles, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions. For instructions on moving and renaming articles, see Help:Moving a page. --Rob Kennedy 06:10, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Italic in templates[edit]

With regard to videogames, are italics mandatory in templates that are linked into articles? (e.g. - Template:Zelda series) It seems to me that the purpose of the italics is to draw attention to a title for something (a game, a movie, etc) within a large paragraph, whereas in a template (a list of sorts) it seems to me it ought to permissable to leave out the italics. Thoughts? --Locke Cole 16:06, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

I disagree. A title's a title, regardless of where it is, so it should be italicized. Regardless, I have been, thus far, the only person I know to have disputed this, even ten days after the issue was brought up (see Template:Megaman, Template:Zelda series); maybe a third opinion might be of help? --Shadow Hog 19:32, 25 November 2005 (UTC)
I'd rather get the people who have been actively involved in the templates to chime in. For example, on Template:Contra seriesLarsinio also feels italics aren't appropriate. [1]. A different template than the one we've been debating, but the same general issue. And I didn't mention this above, but my main reason for not wanting to use italics is that they're more difficult to read (especially when everything is italicized as they are in these infoboxes). I didn't want you to think I was just being stubborn. :P
BTW, here are some other templates where any decision would be applicable:
It's not an exhaustive list, these are just templates I've edited (or come across). —Locke Cole(talk)(e-mail) 20:24, 25 November 2005 (UTC)
I can read italicized text just fine. "Harder to read" sounds way too subjective to be a great argument. The third opinion, though, certainly helps your case. I still don't like the outcome, but it would seem I'm outnumbered - for now. --Shadow Hog 21:20, 25 November 2005 (UTC)
Go look at some of the history on those other templates, I believe Hibana has also added italics in the past citing MoS. As for the harder-to-see argument, I dunno, maybe I need new glasses (or a bigger display). :P I'll try to bring some of these people into the discussion. —Locke Cole(talk)(e-mail) 06:20, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
I agreed with Shaodw Hog. Longform titles should use italics, and they don't negatively affect readability. - A Man In Bl♟ck(conspire | past ops) 06:09, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
What about Template:FinalFantasy series where short names and long names are mixed? —Locke Cole(talk)(e-mail) 06:16, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
I'd say use italics even on the shortened versions of the names. By "longform titles" I mean "titles of long-form works" (which includes games), not "the long versions of titles". - A Man In Bl♟ck(conspire | past ops) 06:25, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
Alright, just wanted to make sure. Now, besides being compliant with the MoS, why should we use italics? —Locke Cole(talk)(e-mail) 06:38, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
Because when you refer to longform works, you italicize or underline. It's a style rule not just on Wikipedia but in English, and we should do it for the same reason that we capitalize the first letter of the names. - A Man In Bl♟ck(conspire | past ops) 06:42, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
I concur with A Man in Bl♟ck. ~ Dread Lord CyberSkull✎☠ 09:47, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
See, I remember italicizing (or rather, in some way highlighting) titles in reports, articles, etc. when I was in school, but I don't recall doing it in lists. —Locke Cole(talk)(e-mail) 13:24, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
Well, in formal writing, you should use italics/underlining, and Wikipedia is formal writing. - A Man In Bl♟ck(conspire | past ops) 00:15, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
Italics are normally used to differentiate between tiles and normal text in a block paragraph. These templates Are just all lists of titles, so there nothing that is needed ot diferentiate from normal text, hence no italics. And italics is harder to read, theres a reason why navigation bars for websties arent done for italics :O Even if its only 1% harder to read, i don thtink its worth it, because the goal is to provide quick access to information with these templates. --19:02, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
Italics are normally used to differentiate between tiles and normal text in a block paragraph.
Or are they? In all honesty, I don't recall anyone's ever gone into the how and why the introduction of italics for titles came into effect (although if you can provide such a source, I'll be more than interested to read it up). Frankly, it's just one of those things you do one way or another, whether you're trying to emphasize it or not - proper grammar dictates so. Hence, italics should be in templates as well. It's not a matter of emphasis, it's a matter of grammar.
Likewise, I think that italics are one of those things where readability never really was a factor. I mean, you can still make the letters out and everything, without much trouble whatsoever (in fact, you'd likely have more trouble thinking over whether things are italicized or not than you would just reading the text, if marginally more), so that argument really doesn't float with me.
Other than that, wow, this argument's moving off to the right. Might want to give it a nice kick back to the left soon. Case in point: this response is three paragraphs, but appears to be one giant paragraph on my 1024x768 (God I wish I could go higher!) screen. Ew. --Shadow Hog 02:03, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

[Convo kicked left] Now wait just a second. Italics is a matter of grammar? I've never heard of that. Italics are only used for emphasis (and in this particular case, emphasis of titles). —Locke Cole(talk)(e-mail) 02:15, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

Well, style, grammar... bad word choice. Although, I'd argue the two are often related. Regardless, emphasis is only one usage of italics; titles would be another. In fact, Wikipedia has an entire article on italics, with a list of the uses, and while emphasis is the first one, there are plenty others...
But even if it were just emphasis, why the heck should it matter if there's nothing else for it to stand out from? It still should be italicized; proper style. --Shadow Hog 04:18, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
Im still confused. Whats the point of emphasizing a title when they are all titles? is someone going to get confused that they arent titles? I dont understand why everyone feels compelled to use italics in *navigational templates* --Larsinio 14:49, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
I'm more confused as to why we need to remove them. They're really not hurting anything. --Shadow Hog 16:38, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
They're harder to read all grouped together. —Locke Cole(talk)(e-mail) 16:46, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
That is more of a browser issue. Adjust your browser or computer's font settings to resolve this. Dread Lord CyberSkull✎☠ 13:54, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
It's the default font setting for Firefox (which, incidentally, it looks just as bad in Internet Explorer). I could change it, yes, but 99% of people out there who are oblivious to the setting will continue to experience the difficult-to-read issue (well, of those who share it anyways). Locke Cole 13:58, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
In the templates that locke and I created, we never put italics in in the first place. I would say that we should just make italics optional to end the debate, but I feel that italics should *not* be used with scenarios as described above. --Larsinio 17:04, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
I like italics in templates and I don't see why we should remove them. If we keep them, Wikipedia will be more consistent, since italics will be used anywhere for titles. Mushroom 17:31, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
Im still confused. Whats the point of emphasizing a title when they are all titles?
Because navbox templates aren't always just lists of games. Take a look at {{Metal Gear series}}, which has a number of non-game entries, some of which even have the same name as games. - A Man In Bl♟ck(conspire | past ops) 22:34, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
What if they are all lists of games? ANd the point of a good matrix style template is to allow easy figuring out of what everything is referring to? If i have 5 titles in a template, and they all refer to a different thing (a soundtrack, a game, a name of a cereal brand, etc) italics wont help differentiate; cues from the template would. --Larsinio 22:38, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
That navbox is actually a perfect example. In the characters section, it uses italics to differentiate between lists of characters in particular games, and an article about the titular robot tank. Seems like as good a reason as any to be consistent in use of italics. - A Man In Bl♟ck(conspire | past ops) 23:02, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
I'm curious...since all the links are already underlined, and it has been previously stated that one should underline/italicize them, what's the reasoning for making them italic when they're already underlined? It looks to me like someone wants some extra emphasis, but seems emphasis was supposedly not the real reason for using italics? It's all rather confusing to me. — Striker 19:31, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I would like to put my two cents in. I feel that for consistently, everything that MoS states that is to be in italics, should be in italics everywhere is appears on Wikipedia. So not just in regular text, but also in lists, tables, templates and anywhere else it appears. The same with short works. Every time they appear should be in double quotes. This is especially important when album titles and song titles appear together. Lets keep things simple and place the works in italics or double quotes every time and prevent another needless revert war over style. Cheers -- Ianblair23(talk) 23:17, 6 December 2005 (UTC)


How about speeches? Such as Cicero's Pro Milone or "Pro Caelio" speeches. I'm leaning towards the double quotation marks as speeches tend to be relatively short in length. – Quoth 03:55, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Capitalisation of Titles[edit]

What type of capitalisation is in use in Wikipedia for titles of movies and the like? This rule?

"Always capitalize the first and last word in a title. Capitalize all the other words except for a, an, the, and conjunctions and prepositions of four letters or fewer." ( 08:24, 28 January 2006 (UTC))

Americans capitalize the last word of a title, but speakers of the Queen's English do not capitalise it. The Oxford Manual of Style suggests capitalising "the first word and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs, but generally not articles, conjunctions and short prepositions." Some experts endorse leaving all prepositions uncapitalised. A software function written in the computer language, PHP, that capitalises a title or capitalizes a title can be found at the technical articles section of the Avalon Internet website. 21:58, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

There is no rule that I can find. I suppose I would use the same rules in the style manual that was used to format the citations. If the citations were formatted with citation templates, then there is no rule, because the citation templates are based on the whim of the last editor to change each of them.
I often use APA style. It has two rules, described on page 95, section 3.13.
Capitalize major words in titles of books and articles within the body of the paper. Conjunctions, articles, and short prepositions are not considered major words; however, capitalize all words of four letters or more. Capitalize all verps (including linking verbs), nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns....
Exception: In titles of books and articles in reference lists, capitalize only the first word, the first word after a colon or dash, and proper nouns. [emphasis added]
--Gerry Ashton (talk) 20:16, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Addition of ship class[edit]

Looking through MoS-T, I see that ship names are italicized, but there is nothing mentioned about a ship's class. In practice, it appears that a substantial fraction of ship articles have the class name italicized (example HMS Foo, a Bar-class rowboat). There are many examples in naval articles: [2][3][4][5][6]. Unless group consensus disagrees, I will add the following to MoS-T:

  • USS Toledo (CA-133) was a Baltimore class cruiser, HMAS Australia (1911) was an Indefatigable class battlecruiser. Only the class name is italicized, not the ship type. This link will require a pipe character (a "|"), as italics tags will not work within a link
    • [[USS Toledo (CA-133)|USS ''Toledo'' (CA-133)]] was a [[Baltimore class cruiser|''Baltimore'' class cruiser]], [[HMAS Australia (1911)|HMAS ''Australia'' (1911)]] was an [[Indefatigable class battlecruiser|''Indefatigable'' class battlecruiser]]

Thoughts? Opinions? --Kralizec! | talk 22:46, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

That follows when the class is named after a specific ship but not when the class has a name that comes from the linking theme of the ship names eg Tribal class destroyer has no ships called HMS Tribal or the C class cruisers which is an overgrouping of many ships of the form HMS C..... GraemeLeggett 15:15, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

The use of "all about" in titles[edit]

I'd like to know if it's against the rules or just plain unnecessary to put in "all about" in titles regarding any particular subject in Wikipedia, unless it is a title of a work, book, etc. For example, for a general article on volcanoes = "all about volcanoes", or just "volcano", or whatever. I cannot find anything related to this title naming convention, so I'd like to hear any opinions or thoughts, please. NorthernFire 23:17, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Don't do it. It doesn't make things easier to find. And it's clearly not true. RichFarmbrough, 15:10 10 September2006 (GMT).

Festival names[edit]

Hi guys,

a very quick question :) Should festival names be written in Italics? This seems to be missing from the list. --Gennaro Prota 18:06, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Singles in quotation marks[edit]

I've added singles to the list of titles that should be placed in quotation marks. It was recently discussed at WikiProject Albums. I think it's perfectly reasonable and became a standard anyway. Jogers (talk) 22:35, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

There should also be a standard recommending if the quotation marks should be bolded when the title is first mentioned in the article. Personally I don't think so, since the quotationmarks are not part of the title. This should also be clarified on the Guide to layout. --Bensin 11:56, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
That’s covered at Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Quotation marks:

Similarly, when the title of an article requires quotation marks in the text (for example, the titles of songs, poems, etc.), the quotation marks should not be bolded in the summary, as they are not part of the title.

--Rob Kennedy 18:59, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
You are correct. Thanks for clarifying! --Bensin 20:42, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Websites and podcasts[edit]

I didn't see mention of websites in the article, although I've noticed that names of websites (Slashdot, Craigslist) are not italicized. Is that the consensus?

Also, should the title of a podcast series or (web) radio show be italicized? It seems analagous to a television series to me. Schi 19:46, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Certain websites are italicized, webcomis for instance, like Penny Arcade, because they're like other comics which are in italics as well. But I'm not sure if it applies to all websites, or whether any form of consensus already exists on this topic or not. Shinobu 11:30, 6 August 2006 (UTC)


I see that songs and singles have to be enclosed in quotation marks.

Does this apply to tracklistings as well? So should it read:

  1. "Highland Lullaby"
  2. "Sailing Up The Clyde"
  3. "Auld Lang Syne"

Or can we do without the quotes in this situation and should it read:

  1. Highland Lullaby
  2. Sailing Up The Clyde
  3. Auld Lang Syne

Shinobu 11:27, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Per Wikipedia:WikiProject_Albums#Track_listing, it does apply to track listings. They should always be in quotes.

Italics and exotic scripts[edit]

What do we do in cases where this MoS advises the use of italics, but the script of the title doesn't have italics (kanji for instance). Yes we can give them an artificial slant, but that's not really the best solution.

In most cases we would do away with this by translating or romanizing the title and put that in italics and put the original unitalicised between parentheses, but if that solution is not possible for some reason, what would we do? Shinobu 11:43, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

If one writes a word in a Japanese script, one should write it as the Japanese do. If they do not use a slanted character, neither should we. And I ask Shinobu what cases he has in mind which can not be dealt with by the solution he suggests? DGG 03:03, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

When not to use italics.[edit]

One frequent erroneous use is that biological names other than genus, species, and subspecies are not italicized. This refers to the higher categories: one writes Arthropoda, not Arthropoda It also applies to the authors of a species name:one writes Homo sapiens Linneaus, not Homo sapiens Linneaus I intend to add these example to the first section on the page, unless people prefer a separate non-italics subcategory.DGG 03:03, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Nesting of two things that are each meant to be italicized[edit]

When i read the ToC, looking for a discussion of this topic i read the following original section heading, and thru the looming headache i began to anticipate as i tried to imagine what it could mean, a voice said "Could that be just what you're looking for?"
--Jerzy•t 19:45, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Overlap of two things meant to be italicized[edit]

The third published book in The Chronicles of Narnia series is, without any formatting, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Because it is a book title, it should be The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Because "Dawn Treader" is the name of a ship, it gets double italics, or, in other words, is turned back to Roman text, thus reading: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. This last version, however, collides with the rest of the text of the sentence, making it impossible to distinguish the title of the book. For example:

C. S. Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader features returning characters Edmund, Lucy and Caspian, and introduces the Pevensies' cousin Eustace.

The current question on Talk:The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is whether to italicize Dawn Treader or not. The MOS technically says it should be in Roman, because of the double italics, but what do practical grammarians have to say on it?
--Fbv65edel / ☑t / ☛c || 18:30, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

I’d be content to italicize the whole thing. That is, for the purposes of styling the title of the book, ignore the fact that Dawn Treader