How to Write Book Titles in an Essay

by Jana Sosnowski

Essays in literature often refer to the title of the book referenced. A reference to the book title may occur only once, but it gives the reader of your essay information about the subject of your discussion.

MLA Style

In an MLA-formatted essay, the title of a book should appear in italics. In the case of a handwritten essay, the title of the book should be underlined. Novels, textbooks and anthologies should all be italicized, while portions of these books, including chapters, short stories and poems, are noted within quotes.

APA Style

In an essay formatted in APA style, the title of a book also appears in italics. Additionally, any words in the title that are four letters or longer should be capitalized. Italicization is also required for edited collections of short stories and essays, movies, television series, documentaries and albums.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Jana Sosnowski holds Master of Science in educational psychology and instructional technology, She has spent the past 11 years in education, primarily in the secondary classroom teaching English and journalism. Sosnowski has also worked as a curriculum writer for a math remediation program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from the University of Southern California.

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