Are Song Titles Italicized in English?

In English, it’s tricky to know what sources of media get italics, underlines, and quotation marks. Song titles are one form of media that are tricky. So, are song titles italicized or given quotation marks?

Contrary to what many believe, song titles are not italicized. In English, when there’s a shorter piece of media, you put it in quotation marks. Then, the longer media gets italics. Song titles are the same way. Since song titles are naming a short piece of media, they get quotation marks, not italics. However, if the song is from an album, then the album would get italics.

The rest of this article will cover italicizing song titles, and when to italicize media.

Italicizing Song Titles

Song titles are the title of a song by any artist, no matter how big or small. The reason why people think they should put song titles in italics is because songs (most notably singles) are often not attached to a larger project like an album.

However, songs, whether they’re singles or a part of an album, receive quotation marks instead of italics. The reason why is because songs aren’t long forms of media. Even long songs that are longer than average aren’t considered for italics.

It’s similar to how short films get quotation marks. Even though these films can be very long, they’re still considered a short piece of media, hence why song titles get quotation marks.

When To Italicize Media

Keeping up with all the different punctuation marks is beyond difficult, so the best way to know when to italicize media is to ask yourself this: is the media you’re talking about short or long? If the work is long (i.e. a full novel), then you’ll need to put it in italics.

Here are a few examples of the types of media you should italicize: books, full-length plays, long poems, movies, TV shows, works of art, newspapers, magazines, and any other media that has sections (i.e. collections or anthologies).

There are also cases where you should use quotation marks instead. For example, even though TV shows get italics, their specific episodes get quotation marks. Any smaller form of media gets quotation marks.

Here are a few examples of the types of media you should put in quotes: short stories, short films, chapters, and song titles. To summarize, any short work should be put in quotation marks.