Which Is Which?: Italics or Quotation Marks?

Download the Activity

Language Arts, Writing, Punctuation

Grade 5- 8


Students learn about appropriate punctuation.


Discuss with students the importance of correctly referencing titles or names in their writing. Introduce to them some of the rules of italics and quotation marks.
Sometimes it is difficult to choose between italics (or underlining) or quotation marks when you are referring to a title or name in your writing. Use the chart below to help distinguish which type of punctuation is appropriate.
Italics or Underlining
Note: When reading printed material or using a computer to compose your writing, the title should appear in italics. Since it is not practical to handwrite in italics, underlining can be substituted when italics are not an available option.

Type of Title Examples
Books The Golden Goblet The Outsiders The Master Puppeteer
Plays Phantom of the Opera Romeo and Juliet Death of a Salesman
Periodicals The New York Times National Geographic Newsweek
Works of Art The Thinker Mona Lisa The Last Supper
Films Star Wars Schindler’s List Lion King
Television Programs 7th Heaven Full House Wall Street Week
Full-length LPs/CDs Unforgettable No Fences Man of Steel
Long Musical Compositions Don Giovanni A Sea Symphony Peter and the Wolf
Ships Titanic USS Nimitz Queen Mary
Aircraft Spirit of St. Louis Air Force One Spruce Goose
Spacecraft Apollo 12 Voyager 1 USS Enterprise

Quotation Marks
Quotation marks are used to refer to a smaller section of work found within a larger body of work.
Type of Title Examples
Short Stories "The Tell-Tale Heart" "The Rule of Names"
Poems "Mother to Son" "The Road Not Taken"
Articles "Free Speech and Free Air" "Marriage in the ’90s"
Songs "America the Beautiful" "Stairway to Heaven"
Television Episodes "Heart of a Champion" "The Trouble with Tribbles"
Chapters and Other Book Parts "Expanding West" "English: Origins and Uses"

Note: Ask yourself if the title of a work appears inside a larger body of work. If so, the title belongs inside quotation marks. If the title is for a longer body of work that stands alone, it should be underlined or typed in italics.


  • Which is Which activity page
  • pens or pencils

© 2024 Teacher Created Resources. All Rights Reserved.