italics: titles of works

Follow the guidelines below when citing the title of a work.

Italicize the title of a major work. Major works include books, pamphlets, published reports and studies, radio and television programs, CDs, plays, operas and long musical compositions, paintings, sculptures, novels, films, long poems, newspapers and periodicals:

  • book: Guide to Canadian English Usage
  • pamphlet: Keeping the Heat In
  • report: Public Accounts of Canada
  • radio and television programs: Quirks & Quarks
  • CDs: It’s Time
  • play: Murder in the Cathedral
  • opera: Rigoletto
  • symphony: the Pastoral Symphony
  • painting: Voice of Fire
  • novel: Cabbagetown
  • long poem: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • sculpture: David
  • newspaper: The Globe and Mail
  • periodical: Saturday Night

Scientific periodicals

Titles of scientific periodicals are usually abbreviated and set in roman type:

  • Can. J. Biochem. (for Canadian Journal of Biochemistry)
  • Can. J. Soil Sci. (for Canadian Journal of Soil Science)

A title within a title

For the title of a major work within another title, two possibilities exist: the embedded title can be placed within quotation marks or set in roman type.

  • Report on the Application of the “Alternative Fuels Act”


  • Report on the Application of the Alternative Fuels Act

Unofficial titles

Do not italicize unofficial titles:

  • A record of the debate can be found in Hansard.

Titles of minor works

Titles of minor works are set in roman type and enclosed in quotation marks. Minor works include articles; short poems and short stories; songs, arias and other short musical compositions; and individual episodes of radio and television programs:

  • article: “The Life Beyond”
  • short poem: “Low Tide on Grand Pré
  • short story: “The Painted Door”
  • song: “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”
  • aria: “Pace, pace, Mio Dio”
  • musical composition: “Stille Nacht”
  • television program episode:“Ruby Reborn” from the series Corner Gas

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© His Majesty the King in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Public Services and Procurement
A tool created and made available online by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada

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