Usage of composition titles

academic papers/ speeches/ short musical compositions

Capitalize according to guidelines in K.books/ periodicals/ long musical compositions and enclose in quotation marks the titles of academic papers and individual speeches and musical compositions (such as popular songs).

  • INCORRECT: The overworked administrative assistant finished typing the professor’s latest article, Toward a Deconstruction of Deconstruction, which quoted lyrics from I Have a Dream and My Girl.
  • CORRECT: The overworked administrative assistant finished typing the professor’s latest article, “Toward a Deconstruction of Deconstruction,” which quoted lyrics from “I Have a Dream” and “My Girl.”

books/ periodicals/ long musical compositions

Italicize the titles of books, magazines, journals, newspapers, long poems, plays, lecture series, long musical compositions (such as operas and oratorios), movies, and ongoing radio and television series. Capitalize all words in these titles except for articles (aanthe) and prepositions (when used as prepositions) and the conjunctions andbutforor and nor.

  • CORRECT: The student opera Calvinalia somehow managed to fit references to the "Friendship Song", Leave It to BeaverThe Washington Post, the Song of HiawathaDeath of a Salesman and Casablanca into the life of John Calvin.


Capitalize only the first word of a headline in all Calvin publications.

  • INCORRECT: Driftwood Sculptures Featured at Center Art Gallery
  • CORRECT: Driftwood sculptures featured at Center Art Gallery

series of compositions

When using titles that refer to both a whole composition and its parts, italicize the “whole” and enclose the "part” in quotation marks: italicize the title of a poem collection, but enclose a single poem from the collection in quotation marks; italicize the name of a magazine, but place the title of an article from that magazine in quotation marks; italicize the name of a television show, but place the title of an episode of that show in quotation marks, and so forth.

  • CORRECT: The very strange student presentation was scored to “Birdland” from Weather Report’s Heavy Weather album.
  • CORRECT: Calvin X-Files fans organized a party to watch “Herrenvolk,” the dopey fourth-season premiere of the show, which involved clone children raising bees.
  • CORRECT: On poetry night, the local poet offered “Rancid I” from her self-published anthology The Rancid Verses.

"the" in a title

Do not italicize or capitalize the word the preceding the title of a newspaper or the word magazine following the title of a magazine unless the word is part of the official title of the publication.

  • CORRECT: He was an avid reader of periodicals and maintained subscriptions to The Grand Rapids PressThe New York Times, the New York Post, the Weekly World NewsThe Philadelphia InquirerThe New York Times Magazine and The Banner.
  • CORRECT: Several Ecosystem Preserve interns founded Slither, a magazine devoted to the preserve’s reptiles, whose main competition came from Lizard Magazine, an offering from previous interns, and the scholarly Reptilia (which was really more of a newsletter).

works of art and computer games

Capitalize—but do not italicize or enclose in quotation marks—the names of works of art and computer games.

  • CORRECT: When during an interview the Tetris-addicted student said that the Winged Victory of Samothrace was his favorite work of art, not even his doting mother believed him.