Do You Italicize Article Titles?

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Let’s look at how MLA 9 and APA 7 handle title formatting.

MLA style

In MLA 9, they have the term containers. For example, a book is a container for a chapter. Here are more examples:

  • Container –> Item in container
  • Book –> Chapter
  • Journal –> Article
  • Album –> Song
  • Television show/series –> Episode
  • Publication –> Interview

Works that are containers or standalone sources are italicized. That includes the titles of the following:

  • Book
  • Journal
  • Album
  • Video
  • Photo/Image/Painting
  • Television show
  • Newspaper
  • Magazine
  • etc.

Works that are contained within something should be in quotation marks and are placed before their container. That includes the following:

  • Book chapter
  • Journal article
  • Interview in a magazine
  • Newspaper article
  • Song in an album
  • etc.

For example, here is an MLA style works cited entry for a book chapter:

Craig, Jacob, et al. “Against the Rhetoric and Composition Grain: A Microhistorical View.” Microhistories of Composition, edited by Bruce McComisekey, UP of Colorado, 2016, pp. 284-306.

  • Chapter title: “Against the Rhetoric and Composition Grain: A Microhistorical View.”
  • Book title: Microhistories of Composition

APA style

In APA 7, a work that is NOT within a bigger work is italicized. That includes the following titles:

  • Book
  • Journal
  • Album
  • Video
  • Photo/Image/Painting
  • Television show
  • Newspaper
  • Magazine
  • Blog
  • etc.

Works that are within other works, like a chapter in a book, are in plain font and are shown before the bigger work they are part of. This includes the following titles:

  • Chapter
  • Article
  • Song
  • Episodes
  • etc.

For example, here is an APA style reference list entry for a journal article:

Jacoby, W. G. (1994). Public attitudes toward government spending. American Journal of Political Science, 38(2), 336-361. https://doi.org/10.2307/2111407

  • Article title: Public attitudes toward government spending.
  • Journal title: American Journal of Political Science

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How do I write the title of an article in MLA?

The article title does not appear in in-text citations. It appears only in the corresponding works-cited-list entry. To cite the article title in MLA style in your works cited list, you need to follow the format given in the below template. An example of an article written by a single author is given for your understanding.

Works cited list template and example

The title of the article is in plain text and title case; it is placed inside quotation marks. Follow the punctuation and formatting as given in the example.

Template:

Surname, First Name. “Title of the Article.” Journal Title, volume #, issue #, publication date, page range.

Example:

Etchells, Tim. “On the Skids: Some Years of Acting Animals.” Performance Research, vol. 5, no. 2, 2000, pp. 55–60.

Should an article title be italicized?

The article title of a journal, newspaper, or magazine is never italicized in either APA or MLA style. In APA style, the article title is given in plain text and sentence case. In MLA style, the article title is written in title case and given in quotation marks.