What Do I Do When Using a Title of a Short Story in an Essay?

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Literature and other humanities courses often require students to write literary analyses that focus on poems and short stories. Properly formatting the titles of such works helps a reader understand what type of literature you are referring to and helps differentiate the name of the work from the other words in your sentences.

Quotation Marks

As explained in the seventh edition of the "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers," the style most papers using short story references would use, titles of shorter works like articles, most poems and short stories should appear inside double quotation marks. (See Reference 1, p. 89, and Reference 2) Although the "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association" (6th edition) does not specifically mention short story titles, it follows the same conventions, requiring italics for longer works and quotation marks for shorter ones. (See Reference 3, p. 176) Capitalize the first word and subsequent important words for short story titles within your essay regardless of which documentation format you choose. (See Reference 1, p. 87 and Reference 3, p. 101) The title of a short story would be formatted like this example: "The Rocking-Horse Winner."


About the Author

Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Colorado.

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