I love music. I've been teaching myself to play guitar, and I can stumble my way through four or five songs without wanting to poke holes in my eardrums, but my main appreciation for music is when other people play it. I'm an avid Spotify user, and I take a lot of pride in my ability to make kickass playlists. One of my girlfriends has even given me the green light to create her hypothetical wedding reception playlist.
So obviously, when I write about a song or album, I know when to use quotation marks and when to use italics. Let's discuss.
Not everyone writes out the titles of their favorite songs or albums regularly, so it's no surprise I sometimes hear people ask, “Are song titles italicized?”
The answer is no.
Here's how it works:
Song Titles in Quotation Marks
Song titles are always surrounded by quotation marks, like *NSYNC's “Bye Bye Bye,” or “A Whole New World” from Disney's Aladdin.
Anytime you write out the title of a song, you'll put that song title in quotation marks.
Album Titles in Italics
Musical album titles, on the other hand, are always italicized. For example, while I will openly admit to loving Journey's power ballad song “Faithfully,” I think pretty much every song on their Greatest Hits album should be sung at karaoke nights across the country.
When you write out an album title, you'll put it in italics.
Other Italics Questions
Of course, lots more media have titles than just songs and albums. There are books, short stories, podcasts, TV shows, episodes . . . the list goes on and on. Want more italics advice? Check out our ultimate title-writing guide for answers to all your italics conundrums.
Do you have any tricks for remembering when to use quotes and when to use italics? Tell us in the comments.
At the Sunday night closing ceremony of the Olympics in 2012, the Spice Girls were there and dancing it up (well, except for Posh).
Take fifteen minutes and write about the hypothetical conversation the ladies of the group had in determining the songs they would play for the ceremony (or any other band in any other situation is fine too). Post your conversation in the practice box below, and leave notes for other writers brave enough to publish as well.
Liz Bureman has a more-than-healthy interest in proper grammatical structure, accurate spelling, and the underappreciated semicolon. When she's not diagramming sentences and reading blogs about how terribly written the Twilight series is, she edits for the Write Practice, causes trouble in Denver, and plays guitar very slowly and poorly. You can follow her on Twitter (@epbure), where she tweets more about music of the mid-90s than writing.