If you\u2019re using MLA style for a piece of academic writing, you\u2019ll need to make sure you format source titles correctly. But how should you write titles in MLA referencing? In this post, we explain what you need to know.\r\nCapitalization of Titles in MLA\r\nMLA style uses a form of title case for source titles. This means capitalizing:\r\n\r\n\tThe first and last word of all titles and subtitles\r\n\tNouns, pronouns, and verbs\r\n\tAdverbs and adjectives\r\n\tSubordinating conjunctions\r\n\r\nHowever, you should not capitalize articles, prepositions, or coordinating conjunctions in the middle of a title. For example:\r\nThe Secret of Success: How to Achieve Your Goals Quickly\r\nAfter the Storm: Why the Weather Is Changing\r\nAre Dogs People? Animal Psychology and Personhood\r\nThe one exception is untitled sources! For a poem with no title or a social media message, for instance, you would quote the first few words in place of a title. And, in this case, you would use the same capitalization as shown in the source you\u2019re quoting. For example:\r\nIn Iqbal\u2019s 2014 poem "The colours and the sound," she examines\u2026\r\nFor all other English-language sources, though, make sure to use title case.\r\nItalics or Quote Marks?\r\nMost source titles in MLA are either italicized or placed in quote marks:\r\n\r\n\tItalics \u2013 Use italics for standalone publications (e.g., books) or for "container" publications (e.g., journals, websites, newspapers).\r\n\tQuote marks \u2013 Use quote marks for titles of shorter works that appear in a container volume (e.g., articles in journals, poems in an anthology).\r\n\r\nFor example, we\u2019d italicize Scientific American (i.e., the title of a magazine). But we\u2019d put the title of an article from this magazine in quote marks:\r\nPublished in Scientific American in September 2020, the article "Water on Mars: Discovery of Three Buried Lakes Intrigues Scientists" (O\u2019Callaghan 14) generated new interest in the question of whether life ever existed on Mars. In particular, it raised the question of...\r\nHowever, there are some exceptions to the rules above! In MLA style, titles of the following should be written without either italics or quote marks:\r\n\r\n\tGeneric references to holy books (e.g., Bible, Quran)\r\n\tLaws and other legislation (e.g., Treaty of Versailles, Equality Act 2010)\r\n\tMusical compositions that are identified in terms of their form, number, and key (e.g., Beethoven\u2019s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67)\r\n\tNames of book series (e.g., Contemporary World Series, Bollingen Series)\r\n\tConferences, workshops, and courses (e.g., Annual MLA Conference)\r\n\r\nKeep an eye out for these types of titles in your writing.\r\nShortened Titles in MLA\r\nIn MLA style, the first time you mention a source in the text, give the full title (although you may want to omit a non-essential subtitle for brevity):\r\nHaddon is known for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.\r\nBut if you mention a source repeatedly in your work, you can shorten the title after the first mention to minimize repetition.\r\nIf the relationship between the full title and the shortened version is obvious, you can switch to it with no introduction:\r\nIn The Curious Incident, the protagonist\u2026\r\nIf the abbreviation is less obvious, though, make sure to introduce it in parentheses when you give the full source title. For instance:\r\nBeyond Good and Evil (BGE) was an important work for Nietzsche... Notably, BGE clarifies many elliptical arguments from his previous work.\r\nAlways give the full source title and subtitle in the Works Cited list, though.\r\nTitles of Non-English Sources\r\nFinally, MLA has two key guidelines on non-English sources:\r\n\r\n\tUnless you are sure your readers will understand the title of a source in a language other than English, give a translation in parentheses.\r\n\tUse sentence case, not title case, and follow the capitalization conventions for the language of the source (e.g., if it is French, use French-style capitalization rather than English).\r\n\r\nFor example, if you named a French-language book, you would write:\r\nIn Le conflit des interpr\u00e9tations: Essais d'herm\u00e9neutique (The Conflict of Interpretations: Essays in Hermeneutics), we see Ricoeur\u2019s\u2026\r\nNote, too, that the English translation follows the standard MLA capitalization style. It is only the non-English title that you should write in sentence case, so make sure to use title case for the English version.\r\nExpert MLA Proofreading\r\nIf you want to be sure you\u2019ve presented source titles correctly in your work, get in touch with our MLA experts, who are always ready to help. Try our free proofreading trial today to find out more.