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How to Render Titles When Italics Aren’t Possible

Liz wrote the other day with an interesting question:

“When writing a Facebook wall post, it isn’t possible (as far as I know) to italicize or underline anything. So how does one properly punctuate titles of works of art/literature? Quotes can work fine for a single item, but the difficulty arises when citing major and minor works within the same sentence.”

This example illustrates Liz’s question:

He quoted from the chapter “Don’t Keep Score” in Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone.

If Liz follows the style of putting large works in italics, with their smaller parts in quotation marks, how would she render the book title without the use of italics or underlining?

graphic stating "no italics? no underline? USE ALL CAPS"

She would render it in full caps, like this:

He quoted from the chapter “Don’t Keep Score” in Keith Ferrazzi’s NEVER EAT ALONE.

The Gregg Reference Manual recommends this approach, and I like it.

Thanks for asking, Liz.

Syntax Training

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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

7 comments on “How to Render Titles When Italics Aren’t Possible”

  • I like it and will adopt it post-haste. And let this be a lesson to my web-addicted self: Don’t forget to check the actual books once in a while!

  • Hi, Stephanie, Robert, Liz, and Eleanor. I am glad you liked this solution.


  • Alternatives to CAPS… they just feel like shouting.

    He quoted from the chapter “Don’t Keep Score” in Keith Ferrazzi’s /Never Eat Alone/.

    He quoted from the chapter “Don’t Keep Score” in Keith Ferrazzi’s _Never Eat Alone_.

  • Hi, Zadoc. Thank you for the suggestions. I have never seen them put into practice. Have you?

    I wonder whether anyone else uses those approaches. That is because I want to recommend ways of communicating that are standard and effective in business writing rather than novel.


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