Writing Style – Titles and Punctuation

BizWritingTip reader: “When I am writing about a report, should I put quotation marks around the title?”

BizWritingTip response: When referring to completed reports, books, magazines, newspapers, or pamphlets, you should bold or italicize the title. Never use more than one design technique.


I need to replace my copy of the Paperback Oxford Canadian Dictionary.

I am upset that the magazine Golf For Women is no longer being published.

Other items that should be bolded or italicized are movies, plays, musicals, operas, television and radio series, long poems or musical pieces, paintings and sculpture.

Note: Another option – but not as popular – is to put the title all in capital letters.

But what about quotation marks? Use quotation marks around titles that represent only part of a completed work, e.g., chapter titles, sections, columns in a newspaper, conference themes, and speech titles.


Did you read the chapter “13 Ways to Mind Your Reader’s Business” in Business Writing Basics.

This year’s theme for the conference is “Protecting Our Nurses.”
I am speaking on “Report Writing to Council” in Thunder Bay in December.

You should also use quotation marks around the titles of complete but unpublished works, such as manuscripts, dissertations, and reports.


I will edit your report “Strategic Thinking for 2009” tomorrow so it will be ready for the meeting. (The report is not yet ready for release.)

Note: Only use double quotes. Single quotes are for quotes within quotes and for newspaper headlines.