If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Using quotation marks in titles

Quotation marks are used to denote direct dialogue, titles of works, and individual works within a larger piece. Examples are provided to help learners figure out when to use quotation marks for titles versus when to use italics or underlines for titles.

Want to join the conversation?

  • leafers ultimate style avatar for user firecat
    I should stop loafing around, But I doughn't know any bread puns.
    get it?
    (53 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • blobby green style avatar for user uglycoverup
      this comment changed my life. My entire view of everything that exists in this world, in fact, even in the entire universe. I can never look at anything I know the same way again. This comment represents emotions that most humans could never understand. But I can. Thanks to this comment i was awakened to many things previously considered unimaginable. Thank you for this exquisite comment, I will never forget this experience.
      (45 votes)
  • duskpin tree style avatar for user a1003458221
    At , David said:"Paige Finch." What is the meaning of "Finch" in here?
    (24 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Shinhwa HONG
    Was there originally a transcript?
    (9 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • marcimus red style avatar for user CHASITY287
    why are quotation marks so important to all of human stuff like english and other common things we do a
    (10 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • leaf blue style avatar for user SierraNightlight
      Well, a part of telling a good story (but not the only way) we can use dialogue. Quotation marks help us be able to determine if someone is speaking or not. If we don't use them, it will get quite confusing. So we need them, and in ways, we use them whether in a book, quoting someone, or something else, we use them and it's just as important as anything else. I hope that helped.
      (23 votes)
  • piceratops tree style avatar for user Tisha Jain
    I am little confused here.
    My English teacher always tells me to use ONLY quotation marks for titles of books, albums, and virtually anything with a title. This statement of hers is backed by the fact that the same thing is mentioned in our English grammar textbook.
    But over here, from to , David mentions the use of italics or underlines for the titles.
    So, who is correct??
    (10 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • aqualine tree style avatar for user David Alexander
      There are many areas of life in which scholarly people like your English teacher and David Rheinstrom hold different opinions, and neither is wrong. What is important is to communicate clearly. It's also important when you write a Master's degree thesis, a Doctoral dissertation, or even a college term paper, to keep to the assigned "style" for presentation of your work. (There are two or three standard style guides out there, they differ on these things.) Short of those high-level places, it's helpful if, when you begin writing a middle school report or an essay for your English teacher to choose how you will punctuate in that piece of work and use that style consistently from beginning to end.
      (18 votes)
  • duskpin seed style avatar for user B
    Loaves of Grass??
    (8 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • aqualine tree style avatar for user David Alexander
      In the 19th Century, the American poet Walt Whitman published a volume of poetry entitled "Leaves of Grass". People still read and enjoy it in 2023. Way back in 2016, when this lesson was recorded, the presenters used the title "loaves of grass" as an example in a grammar lesson. Their title was based on the 19th Century poetry. When you get a good liberal arts education, you learn how to do and use things like this.
      (10 votes)
  • primosaur ultimate style avatar for user Phil O'Math
    to made me wonder if you could write, for instance, "My favorite song is Gentle Giant's Free Hand: 'On Reflection'?" I'm guessing not, correct? You'd have to write, "My favorite song is 'On Reflection' from Gentle Giant's Free Hand album." Because in the previous section, it was said that colons are used to separate parts of a title, but "Free Hand: 'On Reflection'" is not actually a valid title.
    (11 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • primosaur tree style avatar for user NighttimeZ
    Are there certain times where you need a comma at the end of the quote?
    (7 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • male robot donald style avatar for user Charlie Brooks
    its the yeast he can do
    (10 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • leaf blue style avatar for user Loading...
    "The yeast I can do"- David
    "That is a great title" -Paige (with a little laugh)
    "Thank YoU!" -David
    (9 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user

Video transcript

- [David] Hello, grammarians. Hello, Paige. - [Paige] Hi, David. - [David] So, today we're gonna be talking about quotation marks. What are they and what do they do? Paige Finch. - [Paige] We use quotation marks to indicate when someone is speaking, right? So, if we're writing dialogue, we can say, "I like strawberry jam," said Lady Boffington. - [David] So, that's one use of quotation marks, which is to quote direct dialogue or to quote from a broader work. We can also use quotation marks for the titles of things. So, Paige, if you remember, you can use underlines or italics to indicate the title of something big like a book of poetry or an album of songs or a movie or a television show. - [Paige] Yep. - [David] So, Paige, for instance, one of my favorite albums is Gentle Giant's 1975 album Free Hand. - [Paige] Okay, but that's with italics or an underline. - [David] It's with italics, or an underline in this case since I'm writing it by hand. But track two on that record is called "On Reflection." - [Paige] Okay, so we put quotes around each individual song on the album. - [David] Right. So, this is the album, and this is a single song on it. Paige, let's say you and Jake wrote a book of bread poetry. - [Paige] Okay, yes. - [David] Right? - [Paige] That is something I would do. - [David] And you called it The Yeast I Can Do. - [Paige] That is a great title. (laughs) - [David] Thank you. - Right, so underline it to indicate that that's the full title. So, this is the book. And then, this book is made up of individual poems, so let's say you wrote a poem in the book called "Rye Do You Love Me?" Sure, why not? So that's in quotes and that indicates that this is a single work or a single poem. - [Paige] Okay. - [David] Also, let me know when that book is coming out 'cause I'll buy your book of poetry. (Paige laughs) So, it's not just songs and poems, right? But it's also magazine and newspaper articles, TV episodes. Really, it's anything that is smaller than a larger work. - [Paige] Right, it's something inside of a larger thing like a collection or-- - [David] Right. - [Paige] Yeah, an album. - [David] So, if you were writing for a magazine or a newspaper, that newspaper's title, the Khan Academy Times, would be either italicized or underlined. But an article that you wrote for it would be in quotes. I think that about does it for quotation marks, Paige. - [Paige] Yeah, David? - [David] Yeah. - [Paige] I think I thought of a bread poetry book name. - [David] Okay, what is it? - [Paige] Loaves of Grass? - [David] Yep. - [Paige] Yep. - [David] Yep, that's pretty good! - [Paige] Okay. - [David] All right. Putting it in there. (Paige laughs) That's quotation marks. You can learn anything. David out. - [Paige] Paige out. - [David] Loaves of Grass. (Paige laughs)