Why do some titles get quotation marks and other titles get italics?

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What type of titles require quotation marks ?

Image: iClipart

I offer a whole page on this website that tells you exactly what kinds of titles get italicized and what kinds of titles need quotation marks instead. However this is how I teach the concept to my students:

The big thing gets italics; the little thing gets quotation marks.

But what does that mean? Here’s an example:

On Ingrid Michaelson’s CD, Human Again, you’ll find the song “Ghost.”

The CD is the bigger thing. It’s got all the little stuff on it. So the big item, the CD title, is what gets italicized, whereas the little titles of songs within the CD get quotation marks.

Here’s another example:

Take a magazine like Tiger Beat. Look inside at all the little articles. The big thing, Tiger Beat gets  italics, while the little articles within it, like “Taylor Swift’s Flirty Dress” and “Jenette McCurdy Spills Her Secrets for Staying Healthy” get quotation marks.

And don’t forget that when your students want to italicize a title when using an ink pen or pencil, they simply underline it to represent the italics. So if a student were to write the above sentence by hand, it would look like this:

Take a magazine like Tiger Beat. Look inside at all the little articles. The big thing, Tiger Beat gets  italics, while the little articles within it, like “Taylor Swift’s Flirty Dress” and “Jenette McCurdy Spills Her Secrets for Staying Healthy” get quotation marks.

It doesn’t hurt to bring visuals with you to class. Pass out some old magazines and CDs and ask the students to write sentences about them using both quotation marks and underlining. (Or if they’re on tablets or laptops, you can ask them to italicize.)

I have no idea how to get text to look italicized on my iPad though. If any of my faithful readers can offer a tip on how that’s done, please leave a comment to that effect. Thanks!

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