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August 18, 2007



One omission from your list: articles in magazines or newspapers, which, unless I'm mistaken, should be in quotation marks.

Also, about italicizing: I've always been of the impression that you should always go with quotes rather than italicizing or, if you're really old-school, underlining. The logic is that when some text is converted from, say, Microsoft Word format to plain text (like news releases over a wire service), the formatting is lost.

Jane Howitt

Yup, I'm with you for the book titles. I far prefer italics and no quotes.

I suppose people might get into a spin about using italics when it's going to be read on a screen (feeble reason for a short title). Or, as Mike says, formatting could be lost converting to plain text (slightly less feeble, but still not a big deal). But I still prefer italics.

Obviously, I'm funny that way, too!


Correct me if I'm wrong, but the name of the popular news magazine is just "Time" -- not "Time Magazine." The only way I've ever seen it written is Time magazine.

Also, I can't tell you how much I despise the use of quotation marks instead of italics when italics are the correct way to write titles. This AP style rule is based on the belief that some newspapers lack the technology to reproduce italics. I for one can hardly believe that in this day and age. In any case, I'll grudgingly use quotation marks in releases and communications produced directly for the media, but for internal and corporate communications, I go with italics all the way.

Dan Santow

JP, thank you for the correction regarding Time magazine. I've changed it in the post (in this "comment" area Typepad does not allow italicizing, which is pretty annoying!).

Mike, yes, article titles should be in quotation marks, too.


So I should quote computer games, but not computer software, which computer games are.

Certainly these rules aren't completely arbitrary. Certainly not.

What about board games?


I was schooled in MLA style in college and titles of books and long works, like poetry collections, movies, etc, were italicized or underlined, and quotes are used around things like poems, chapter titles, magazine articles, or TV episodes. In other words, quotes are used around things that are parts of a larger work, the larger work, then, is italicized. That's how I learned it anyway, and how the grammar books I used when teaching high school English did it. Language is a fluid thing, though and changes are made with each edition of style books.


I actually have a question. If I'm writing a resume, and I've worked for a magazine or newspaper, do I need to italicize or underline the name then? Or is it only when you're using the magazine or newspaper as a reference? Thanks!

Dan Santow

Hilary, there really aren't strict rules for resumes but I think italicizing magazine and newspaper names still looks right.


Thanks Mr. Santow!


Hi What about if you refer to a website name like Facebook in a sentence? Italicize? Thanks

Julie Roads

Thanks for doing what you do! Great blog...


i have a question, if the title of the magazine is within quotes of a dialogue, i.e. "He reads Time magazine." does Time still need to be in italics, thanks...


Then what would you do with TV episodes? Would you be watching the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episode "Welcome to the Hellmouth?"

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  • When I started to e-mail out a weekly writing tip to my Chicago colleagues at Edelman in 2002, little did I know how quickly how many people outside my office would start to request it. But word spread, as word is wont to do, and in 2006 the e-mail evolved into this blog. The tips, which are about grammar, usage and style, have a dual purpose – to remind my colleagues in PR of the power of the written word and, more generally, to support and perpetuate clear, concise, creative, honest, lively, stylish, compelling writing everywhere. In 2009 I started to add commentary about and links to stories and other blog posts related to the media, marketing, writing and, sometimes, just interesting stuff. For some reason, I also started Twittering (at SantowDan).