This guideline is a part of the English Wikipedia's Manual of Style.
|Manual of Style (MoS)|
This part of the Manual of Style covers title formats and style for works of art or artifice, such as capitalization and italics versus quotation marks.
Italic type (text like this, marked up with pairs of apostrophes as
''text like this'') should be used for the following types of names and titles, or abbreviations thereof:
The actual medium of publication or presentation is not a factor; a video feature only released on video tape, disc or the Internet is considered a "film" for these purposes, and likewise an e-book is a book, a webcomic is a comic strip, a music album only available from the artist on a limited-edition USB drive is a real album, a TV series only available via streaming services is still a series, etc.
Minor works (any specifically titled subdivisions of italicized major works) are given in quotation marks.
Website titles may or may not be italicized in running text depending on the type of site and what kind of content it features. Online magazines, newspapers, and news sites with original content should generally be italicized (Salon or HuffPost). Online non-user-generated encyclopedias and dictionaries should also be italicized (Scholarpedia or Merriam-Webster Online). Other types of websites should be decided on a case-by-case basis.[b]
These cases are well-established conventions recognized in most style guides. Do not apply italics to other categories or instances because you feel they are creative or artful (e.g. game or sport moves, logical arguments, "artisanal" products, schools of practice or thought, Internet memes, aphorisms, etc.).
Some similar cases that are not titles of works include:
To display text in italics, enclose it in double apostrophes.
''[[The Mary Tyler Moore Show]]''.
If the title is also a wikilink but only part of it should be italicized, use italics around or inside a piped link to properly display the title:
Further information: Wikipedia:Article titles § Italics and other formatting
If the title of a Wikipedia article requires italicization, there are two options:
((Italic title))at the top of the page to italicize the part of the title before the first parenthesis, as at Casablanca (film).
((DISPLAYTITLE))magic word for more nuanced titles, as at List of Sex and the City episodes and USS Baltimore (CA-68) (see WP:Page name § Changing the displayed title for technical details). Some wikiprojects may provide special templates for this, and some infoboxes (e.g.
((Infobox film))) automatically italicize the article titles.
This section is about use of quotation marks in titles of works of art or artifice. For use of quotation marks generally, see WP:Manual of Style § Quotation marks.
Italics are generally used only for titles of longer works. Titles of shorter works should be enclosed in double quotation marks ("text like this"). It particularly applies to works that exist as a smaller part of a larger work. Examples of titles which are quoted but not italicized:
This convention also applies to songs, speeches, manuscripts, etc., with no known formal titles but which are conventionally referred to by lines from them as if they were titles: Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.[c]
The formatting of the title of a pamphlet, which is on the divide between a booklet or short book on the one hand and a leaflet or brochure on the other – specifically, whether to italicize the title or place it within quotation marks – is left to editorial discretion at the article in question. Anything that has been assigned an ISBN or ISSN should be italicized. Another rule of thumb is that if the work is intended to stand alone and to be kept for later reference, or is likely to be seen as having merit as a stand-alone work, italicize it. Use quotation marks if the item is entirely ephemeral, trivial, or simply promotional of some other work or product.
The convention of italicizing non-English words and phrases does not apply to proper names; thus, a title of a short non-English work simply receives quotation marks.
If a title is enclosed in quotation marks, do not include the quotation marks in any additional formatting markup. For example, if a title in quotation marks is the subject of a Wikipedia article and therefore displayed in boldface in the lead section, the quotation marks should not be in boldface because they are not part of the title itself. For further information, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style – Quotation marks in article openings.
Titles in quotation marks that include (or in unusual cases consist of) something that requires italicization for some other reason than being a title, e.g. a genus and species name, or a foreign-language phrase, or the name of a larger work being referred to, also use the needed italicization, inside the quotation marks: "Ferromagnetic Material in the Eastern Red-spotted Newt Notophthalmus viridescens" (an academic journal article containing an italicized phrase), and "Ich Bin Ein Auslander" (a song with a German-language title).
There are cases in which titles should not be in italics nor in quotation marks (though many are capitalized):
Texts of large, well-known religions should not normally be italicized. For example, Bible, Quran, Talmud, Bhagavad Gita, Adi Granth, Book of Mormon, and Avesta are not italicized. Their constituent parts, such as Book of Ruth, New Testament, or Gospel of Matthew, are not italicized either, as such titles are generally traditional rather than original ones. However, the titles of specific published versions of religious texts should be italicized: Authorized King James Version and New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud.
Many relatively obscure spiritual works are also generally italicized, particularly if the work is not likely to be well-known to the Wikipedia reader, if the work was first published in modern times and has not undergone substantial changes, or if it might be unclear that the title refers to a book. For example, The Urantia Book, The Satanic Bible, Divine Principle, and Gylfaginning should be italicized.
Descriptive titles for media franchises (including trilogies and other series of novels or films) and fictional universes should not be placed in italics or quotation marks, even when based on a character or feature of the works: the Sherlock Holmes mysteries; Tolkien's Middle-earth writings. Those with official names from the publisher are capitalized (in the singular, not in plural and other genericizing constructions), without quotation marks or italics: Marvel Universe, Marvel Cinematic Universe, and DC Universe, but the Marvel and DC comics universes.
However, the following should be set in italics:
For use of definite and indefinite articles at the start of a series title, apply the same rules as for work titles.
Place adjacent punctuation outside any quotation marks or italics unless the punctuation is part of the title itself.
Where subtitle punctuation is unclear (e.g. because the subtitle is given on a separate line on the cover or a poster), use a colon and a space, not a dash, comma, or other punctuation, to separate the title elements. If there are two subtitles, a dash can be used between the second and third elements.
For capitalization in Wikipedia article titles, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (capitalization).
For article titles that are not of English-language works, Wikipedia uses sentence case. In sentence case, generally only the first word and all proper names are capitalized (this is also true of section headings, captions, etc.[d]). Examples: List of selection theorems, Women's rights in Haiti.
In titles (including subtitles, if any) of English-language works (books, poems, songs, etc.), every word except for definite and indefinite articles, short coordinating conjunctions, and short prepositions is capitalized. This is known as title case. Capitalization of non-English titles varies by language. Wikipedia normally follows these conventions when referring to such works, whether in the name of an article or within the text.
WP:Citing sources § Citation style permits the use of pre-defined, off-Wikipedia citation styles within Wikipedia, and some of these expect sentence case for certain titles (usually article and chapter titles). Title case should not be imposed on such titles under such a citation style when that style is the one consistently used in an article.
Always capitalized: When using title case, the following words should be capitalized:
Not capitalized: For title case, the words that are not capitalized on Wikipedia (unless they are the first or last word of a title) are:
Other styles exist with regard to prepositions, including three- or even two-letter rules in news and entertainment journalism, and many academic publishers call for capitalization of no prepositions at all. These styles are not used on Wikipedia, including for titles of pop-culture or academic works.
Potential exceptions: Apply our five-letter rule (above) for prepositions except when a significant majority of current, reliable sources that are independent of the subject consistently capitalize, in the title of a specific work, a word that is frequently not a preposition, as in "Like" and "Past". Continue to lower-case common four-letter (or shorter) prepositions like "into" and "from".[g]
Hyphenation: The general rule in English is to not capitalize after a hyphen unless what follows the hyphen is itself usually capitalized (as in post-Soviet). However, this rule is often ignored in titles of works. Follow the majority usage in independent, reliable sources for any given subject (e.g. The Out-of-Towners but The History of Middle-earth). If neither spelling is clearly dominant in sources, default to lowercase after a hyphen, per the general rule.
Subtitles: Not everything in parentheses (round brackets) is a subtitle. For titles with subtitles or parenthetical phrases, capitalize the first word of each element, even if it would not normally be capitalized, if the element is either:
Do not capitalize a normally lower-cased word:
Incipits: If a work is known by its first line or few words of text (its incipit), this is rendered in sentence case, and will often be the Wikipedia article title. Examples:
Capitalization in foreign-language titles varies, even over time within the same language. Retain the style of the original for modern works. For historical works, follow the dominant usage in modern, English-language, reliable sources. Examples:
Non-English titles should be wrapped in the
((lang)) template with the proper ISO language code (the shortest available for the language or dialect in question), e.g.:
"((lang|de|Hymnus an den heiligen Geist))". This is done inside surrounding quotation marks, for short/minor works. Since 2017, the template automatically italicizes foreign material in a Latin script, so no manual italics markup around or inside the template is needed, and should be removed if present. Such titles should be italicized as non-English regardless whether they would also be italicized as major works or not italicized as minor ones. See the template documentation for complicated markup situations, such as use within a piped link.
Series, franchise, and fictional universe names:
A leading A, An, or The is preserved in the title of a work, including when preceded by a possessive or other construction that would eliminate the article in something other than a title, e.g.: Stephen King's The Stand; however, the is sometimes not part of the title itself, e.g.: the Odyssey, the Los Angeles Times but The New York Times.
The leading article may be dropped when the title is used as a modifier: According to a New York Times article by ....
An indefinite or definite article is capitalized only when at the start of a title, subtitle, or embedded title or subtitle. For example, a book chapter titled "An Examination of The Americans: The Anachronisms in FX's Period Spy Drama" contains three capitalized leading articles (main title "An", embedded title "The", and subtitle "The").
For works originally named in languages other than English, use WP:COMMONNAME to determine whether the original title or an English language version should be used as the article title. For works best known by their title in a language other than English, an English translation of that title may be helpful. If the work is also well known by an English title, give the English translation in parentheses following normal formatting for titles: Les Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons). Where the work is not known by an English title, give the translation in parentheses without special formatting in sentence case: Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen (Weeping, lamenting, worrying, fearing). In references, square brackets are used: Il Giornale dell'Architettura [The journal of architecture].
Main page: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Trademarks
Do not attempt (with HTML, Unicode, wikimarkup, inline images, or any other method) to emulate any purely typographic effects used in titles when giving the title in Wikipedia, though an article on a work may also include a note about how it is often styled, e.g. in marketing materials. When giving such a stylization, it is not italicized or placed in quotation marks as a title; this confuses readers, who are apt to think such markup is part of the stylization when it is not.
For typographic effects that do not represent actual mathematical or scientific usage, it is preferable to use HTML or wiki markup, not Unicode equivalents, for superscript and subscript. When giving a stylization, do not attempt to mimic specific fonts, font size quirks, uneven letter placement, coloration, letters replaced with images, unusual upper- or lower-casing, or other visual marketing.
If a stylization that readers might look for can be created as an article title, redirect it to the actual article, and include
((R from stylization)) on the redirect page: ALIEN³.
Semantic markup and special characters in titles should be preserved when they convey meaning not just decoration, especially if omitting them would make the title difficult to understand or cause it to not copy-paste correctly. Examples:
Quotation marks simply used as a form of title stylization on a cover are removed. They are retained within a title when reliable sourcing demonstrates they indicate an actual quotation, or sarcasm. If the title is put into double quotation marks as a minor work, its interior quotation marks are rendered as single quotes.[h] When giving a quoted title that begins or ends with an interior quotation mark, the templates
(('")), respectively, can be used to kern the double and single quotation marks apart for better readability; this should not be done inside citation templates, just in running prose. Interior quotation marks in an italicized title go within the italics.
Generally, the guidelines on typographic conformity in quoted material also apply to titles of works, including normalization of dashes and quotation marks, conversion of various emphasis techniques, cleanup of punctuation, and use of italics for things like scientific names of species.
Some special considerations:
((lang)), or raw HTML markup like
<em>...</em>, in the titles of the work, author(s) names, or any of the other parameters in which extended markup should be avoided. Using such code in them pollutes the COinS metadata emitted by the templates, for use with reference management software. To italicize or boldface something in a title, use basic wikimarkup, e.g.:
((Cite journal |title=Gray wolf (''Canis lupus'') is a natural definitive host for ''Neospora caninum'' |date=...)). It will be filtered out of the COinS metadata, as will wikilinks, but most other markup will not be.
((em))markup when the title is mentioned in running text, if the intent was emphasis. Italics used by convention to indicate a foreign expression, a legal case name, a movie title, a species scientific name, etc., are not emphasis and just take ''...'' markup.
((abbr))template in particular should not be done in citation templates, except in the
|quote=parameter (which is free-form text and does not generate metadata).
((sic))into a work title. If it seems important to use, do it after the title. Within a citation, it is better to use an HTML comment, e.g.
|title=The Compleat Gamester<!--Original period spelling.-->. Do not use the templated version of
((sic))inside citation template data at all, except in the
Main page: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Abbreviations
When it is impractical to keep repeating a long title in the same article, it is permissible to use a source-attested abbreviation of it. This can be introduced in parentheses, with or without a parenthetical "hereafter", at an early occurrence in the page: "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" (hereafter "ITEOTWAWKI"). Some other examples include OED for the Oxford English Dictionary, LotR for The Lord of the Rings, and STII:TWoK for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It is not necessary to use camel case, as in LotR, unless most of the reliable sources prefer such a spelling. Such an abbreviation need not be mentioned in the lead section of the article unless the work is very commonly known by the abbreviation (e.g., GTA for the Grand Theft Auto video game series), or the lead is long and the abbreviation is needed in the lead.
A common convention in literary and film reviews is to use the first major word or two from the title (or subtitle, for franchise works) in the same manner, e.g. Roger Ebert gave Eternal Sunshine a rating of ...", for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Although this approach may be also used on Wikipedia, it can seem unencyclopedically colloquial if used for works that have short titles to begin with. It is common to shorten a reference to a work in a series to just its subtitle on second and later mention, or when the context already makes it clear what the overarching title is. However, avoid this usage if confusion could occur, as when the abbreviated form could refer to another element in the same franchise that is also mentioned in our article (Shannara adapts literary high fantasy ... would not work well at our article on The Shannara Chronicles, because "Shannara" appears in the titles of the books on which the TV series is based). Abbreviated forms should be retained as-is in direct quotations, and may be clarified if necessary with square-bracketed editorial insertions.
In all cases, such abbreviations follow the italic or quotation-marked style of the full title.
Titles or what could be taken for titles should be trimmed, both in main text and in reference citations, to remove extraneous and reader-unhelpful injections. A common case is navigational website interface elements, such as breadcrumbs, hashtags, and keyword links appearing in front of or after the article title per se. Another frequent example is author, department/column, or publication names put inline with the title. Less often, a website (especially in an officially bilingual country like Canada) may include an English title and a translation in another language as a co-title. Another case is marking exclamations, e.g. "Exclusive:" or "Breaking:" at the start, though sometimes tacked on at the end ("... – Exclusive!"). Including these serves no encyclopedic or citation-verification purpose.
|via=) in an attempt to avoid italicizing digital sources. This has been the subject of numerous consensus discussions, the most recently conclusive of which is WP:CITALICSRFC (October 2019). Online services that are simply conduits for others' independent publishing are better coded as
((Cite web|title=How 2021 was celebrated around the world|work=BBC News|via=YouTube|...)); BBC News is an entire YouTube channel (i.e., a major work), and YouTube has nothing to do with its editorial creation. (That BBC News is also the title of the https://bbc.com/news website and of BBC's television and radio programming operations is irrelevant.) A citation of the YouTube terms of service, as an WP:ABOUTSELF source regarding YouTube, would use