Do you put song titles in quotation marks?

So, you’re curious about something that’s often debated among writers, editors, and grammar enthusiasts: Do you put song titles in quotation marks? It’s a question that can stir up some lively discussions, and rightly so.

Yes, typically, song titles are enclosed in quotation marks when mentioned in writing. This convention helps distinguish the title from the rest of the text and signals to readers that it’s a specific work.

For example, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen is correctly formatted with quotation marks around the title. However, it’s essential to follow any specific style guide or formatting rules provided by the publication or organization you’re writing for, as preferences may vary slightly.

Purpose of using quotation marks

Do you put song titles in quotation marks

Quotation marks, those small but mighty punctuation symbols, play a significant role in written communication. With their versatile nature, they serve as the guardians of direct speech, the markers of borrowed words, and the spotlight for emphasized phrases.

Yet, their purpose extends beyond mere grammatical formalities; they wield the power to convey nuances of tone, to denote titles of literary works, and even to cloak sarcasm or irony within their curved embrace.

Quotation marks serve several purposes in writing:

  1. Quoting Direct Speech: They indicate when someone is speaking directly. For example: “I love reading,” she said.
  2. Quoting Text: They are used to denote text that is being directly quoted from another source. For example: According to the article, “The economy is expected to grow by 3% next year.”
  3. Highlighting Words or Phrases: They can be used to emphasize or draw attention to specific words or phrases. For example: The word “brilliant” can be interpreted in many ways.
  4. Titles of Works: They are used to denote the titles of shorter works such as articles, poems, short stories, songs, and episodes of TV shows. For example: “The Catcher in the Rye” is a classic novel.
  5. Sarcasm or Irony: Quotation marks can be used to indicate sarcasm or irony. For example: He’s “working hard” on his project (implying he’s not really working hard).

However, it’s essential to use quotation marks correctly to avoid confusion or misinterpretation in writing.

Do you put song titles in quotation marks?

Yes, typically song titles are enclosed in quotation marks when written in formal or professional writing. When writing formally, such as in academic papers, articles, or other professional contexts, it’s customary to enclose song titles within quotation marks.

This convention helps to clearly indicate that the text within the quotation marks represents the title of a song, distinguishing it from the rest of the sentence.

For example, in a sentence discussing the impact of The Beatles’ music, you might write:

“The Beatles’ album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ revolutionized the music industry.”

Here, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is the title of the album, and it’s enclosed in quotation marks to highlight it as such. This makes it clear to the reader that it’s a specific work being referred to, rather than just a regular phrase in the sentence.

Overall, using quotation marks for song titles helps maintain clarity and consistency in writing, making it easier for readers to understand and follow along.

Basic Rules for Formatting Song Titles

Do you put song titles in quotation marks

Formatting song titles follows certain basic rules, primarily to ensure consistency and clarity in writing. Here are the basic rules for formatting song titles:

  1. Use Quotation Marks: Enclose the title of the song within double quotation marks (” “). This helps distinguish the title from the surrounding text and gives it emphasis.

    Example: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

  2. Italicize or Underline: In handwritten or typewritten documents where italics are not available, you can underline the song title instead of using quotation marks. However, in digital writing, italics are preferred for emphasis over underlining.

    Example (Italicized): Bohemian Rhapsody

  3. Capitalization: Capitalize the principal words in the song title. Articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or), and prepositions shorter than four letters should generally not be capitalized unless they start or end the title.

    Example: “Love Me Do” (capitalized principal words, “Me” is capitalized because it starts the title)

  4. Punctuation: Follow the punctuation used in the title exactly as it appears in the original. If the song title includes punctuation marks like commas, periods, or question marks, retain them within the quotation marks.

    Example: “Don’t Stop Believin'”

  5. Album Titles vs. Song Titles: Album titles are formatted similarly to song titles but are typically italicized or underlined instead of being enclosed in quotation marks. Song titles within the album are still enclosed in quotation marks.

    Example (Album Title): The Dark Side of the Moon Example (Song Title within Album): “Time”

By following these basic rules, you can ensure consistency and clarity when formatting song titles in your writing.

Formatting Song Titles in Different Contexts

Formatting song titles can vary slightly depending on the context and style guide being followed. Here’s how song titles are formatted in different contexts:

  1. General Writing: In most general writing contexts, such as emails, social media posts, or informal documents, song titles are typically enclosed in double quotation marks.

    Example: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

  2. Formal Writing: In formal writing, such as academic papers, articles, or business reports, song titles are also enclosed in double quotation marks for clarity and consistency.

    Example: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

  3. Digital Writing: In digital writing, such as on websites or in digital documents, song titles can be formatted similarly to general writing, using double quotation marks.

    Example: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

  4. Handwritten Documents: In handwritten documents or when typing on a typewriter where italics are not available, song titles can be underlined instead of enclosed in quotation marks for emphasis.

    Example (Underlined): Bohemian Rhapsody

  5. Citations and References: When citing song titles in academic papers or articles, the formatting may follow a specific citation style guide such as APA, MLA, or Chicago. Each style guide may have its own rules for formatting song titles in citations and references.
    • APA Style: Song titles are capitalized and enclosed in double quotation marks. The album title is italicized. Example: Queen. (1975). “Bohemian Rhapsody.” On A Night at the Opera [Album]. EMI Records.
    • MLA Style: Song titles are enclosed in double quotation marks and album titles are italicized. Example: Queen. “Bohemian Rhapsody.” A Night at the Opera. EMI Records, 1975.
    • Chicago Style: Song titles are enclosed in double quotation marks and album titles are italicized. However, Chicago allows for the use of italics for song titles if quotation marks are being used for another purpose in the text. Example: Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” A Night at the Opera, EMI Records, 1975.

By understanding these different contexts and style guides, you can effectively format song titles in various writing situations.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When formatting song titles, there are some common mistakes to avoid to ensure clarity and correctness. Here are a few:

  1. Misplaced Punctuation: Ensure that punctuation marks are placed correctly within or outside the quotation marks according to the rules of the language. For example, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” includes the comma inside the quotation marks because it’s part of the title.
  2. Incorrect Capitalization: Capitalize principal words in the song title but remember not to capitalize articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or), and prepositions shorter than four letters unless they start or end the title.
  3. Mixing Formatting Styles: Stick to one formatting style consistently throughout your document. For example, if you’re using double quotation marks for song titles, don’t switch to italics or underlining midway through unless it’s required by a specific style guide.
  4. Misquoting Titles: Be sure to accurately quote song titles, including any special characters, capitalization, or punctuation marks as they appear in the original. Misquoting can lead to confusion or inaccuracies.
  5. Omitting Album Titles: When citing song titles, especially in formal writing or academic papers, include the album title and other relevant information to provide context. This helps readers locate the song easily and ensures proper attribution.
  6. Inconsistency in Referencing: If you refer to a song multiple times within your writing, ensure consistency in how you format the title each time. Inconsistency can be distracting and make your writing appear less polished.
  7. Forgetting to Attribute: If you’re quoting lyrics from a song, always attribute them to the appropriate artist and song title. This is not only a matter of accuracy but also respects intellectual property rights.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your formatting of song titles is accurate, consistent, and adheres to standard conventions.


Are you in search for answers to the question do you put song titles in quotation marks, we have got you covered here. When discussing song titles, the convention is to enclose them in quotation marks.

This standard practice aids in distinguishing the title from the rest of the text, ensuring clarity and consistency in writing. So, to answer the question, yes, song titles should be enclosed in quotation marks.