titles of compositions

Apply the following guidelines to book titles, video game and software titles, movie titles, opera titles, play titles, poem titles, album and song titles, radio and television program titles, and the titles of lectures, speeches, works of art and exhibition titles:

  • Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.
  • Capitalize an article–the,aan–or words of fewer than four letters if it is the first or last word in a title.
  • Put quotation marks around the names of all such works except the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material. In addition to catalogs, this category includes almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks and similar publications. Do not use quotation marks around such software titles as WordPerfect or Windows. See websites and apps below.
  • Translate a foreign title into English unless a work is generally known by its foreign name. An exception to this is reviews of musical performances. In those instances, generally refer to the work in the language it was sung in, so as to differentiate for the reader. However, musical compositions in Slavic languages are always referred to in their English translations.


“The Star-Spangled Banner,” “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” “Gone With the Wind,” “Of Mice and Men,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Time After Time,” the NBC-TV “Today” programthe “CBS Evening News,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
See television program titles.


Reference works:

IHS Jane’s All the World’s AircraftEncyclopedia BritannicaWebster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second Edition.


Names of most websites and apps are capitalized without quotes:

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Amazon.


Video games and other digital content should have its titles in quotes:

“FarmVille,” “Minecraft,” “Pokémon Go,” “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”


Foreign works:

Rousseau’s “War,” not Rousseau’s “La Guerre.” But: Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” if sung in English but “Le Nozze di Figaro” if sung in Italian. Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” if sung in English but “Die Zauberfloete” if sung in German. “Die Walkuere” and “Goetterdaemmerung” from Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen” if sung in German but “The Valkyrie” and “The Twilight of the Gods” from “The Ring of the Nibelung” if sung in English. Janáček“From the House of the Dead,” not Janáček “Z Mrtveho Domu.”

For other classical music titles, use quotation marks around the composition’s nicknames but not compositions identified by its sequence: Dvorak’s “New World Symphony.” Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9.

See academic courses; academic majors; acronyms, abbreviations; capitalization; course titles; courtesy titles; music.

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