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Is a Book Title Underlined or Italicized When Typing in APA Format?

by Rebekah Richards, Demand Media
    APA style specifies formatting guidelines for citations of books, articles, websites and other sources.

    APA style specifies formatting guidelines for citations of books, articles, websites and other sources.

    American Psychological Association, or APA, style is a set of guidelines often used when writing in the social sciences, such as psychology, anthropology and history. APA guidelines stipulate rules for punctuation, tables, headings, statistics and citations. Citing your sources according to APA style helps you avoid plagiarism and boost your paper's credibility. When you cite or mention a book in a paper, you should italicize the title.

    Formatting Book Citations

    Citations of books in your Reference List should begin with the last name of the book's author, then the author's initials. Next, write the year of publication within parentheses. After the year, list the title of the book in sentence case -- only capitalize the first word of the title and subtitle, if applicable, just as if you were writing a sentence. Italicize the title of the book; don't underline it or any other part of the citation. Finally, list the location, followed by a colon, and then the publisher.

    In-Text vs. Citation

    You should also italicize the title of a book when you refer to it within the text of your paper. Unlike in your Reference List, however, the title of a book within the text should be in title case. That means you should capitalize the first word of the title and subtitle; all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs; and all words that are four letters or longer. For example, within the text of your paper, you would write "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," but in your Reference List, you would write "Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders."

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    About the Author

    Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at tolerance.org. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with bachelor's degrees in creative writing, English/American literature and international studies. Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.

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