Submitted by drewfleischer on March 23, 2006

Titles in quotes

I’m writing for a trivia book that will use quote marks to signify a title. Would a correct possessive be:

How tall is “Sesame Street’s” Big Bird? or How tall is “Sesame Street”’s Big Bird?

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So, how should it go?

"Title That Goes in Quotes"'s themes are interesting.
or
"Title That Goes in Quote's" themes are interesting.

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Short stories and poems also go in quotation marks - not just quotes!!!

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If I'm writing an essay and write the name of a television show should it be underlined or in quotations?

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By the way, I've always thought that underlining replaces the preferable italicizing because of the limitations of typewriters (remember those?).

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I agree with all and sundry that the titles of television shows, books, etc. should always be italicized (or underlined). However, although this answers this *specific* question, it still leaves open the *general* question, because titles of portions of a larger work (chapters, particular television episodes, papers in a journal, etc.) *do* go inside quotation marks.

ObPhilosophyGeek: AO--although the section in "On Sense and Reference" on quotation marks is very confusingly written (or, at least, confusingly translated in every translation I've seen)--I don't think Frege considers them inert. Frege here is actually discussing *three* different types of referential contexts (although for the majority of the paper he's only interested in two):

-Ordinary context, where a nominal refers to an object and has a separate sense (mode of presentation)
-Indirect context (such as in indirect quotation using "that"), where the nominal refers to what would usually be its sense, and
-Direct context (such as in direct quotation using quotation marks), where the nominal refers to *itself* (that is, the actual words).

Frege isn't very interested in direct context, generally, but this distinction is the only sense I've ever been able to make out of the passage...and it seems more or less accurate, anyway.

At any rate, this use of quotation marks is very different from the use to set off a title of a portion of a larger work.

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I agree, it should be italicised, not underlined. Although I do agree with Holly's point about random phrases in quotation marks. It's driving me insane..."Pizza's" plastered across the top of menus. Why?

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Indeed, I'll have to add to the pile of suggestions to italicize. And just to point out, Holly, titles should not be underlined. Titles should only be underlined when they are handwritten, as it is problematic to italicize handwriting. Rules and conventions aside, philosophically speaking, using quotation marks doesn't do any harm. For more info, take a look at Gottlob Frege's 1892 paper entitled "Uber Sinn und Bedeutung" (On Sense and Reference).

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I believe one underlines titles. The use of quotation marks is, strangely enough, for quotations. Titles are different to quotations. In this same vein, I'm rather sick of seeing quotation marks on menus.

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You have no choice? Poor you. The second might technically be correct within the odd constraints imposed by the incorrect usage of the quotation marks, but it makes no sense, and correct usage must first and last convey information easily and accurately. I would have to do a double and triple take to figure it out.

-- Sean

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It should be "Sesame Street"'s Big Bird. (If the possessive was inside the double quotes it would mean the title of the show was "Sesame Street's". But titles of TV shows should be in italics anyway.

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Since it's the title of the main body of work, it's proper to italicize <i>Sesame Street</i>. I would also take MCopyM's advice to heart and avoid possessives:

How tall is Big Bird from the TV show <i>Sesame Street</i>?

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Or, if it has to be quotation marks, recast to avoid the possessive: How tall is Big Bird of "Sesame Street"?

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It is "Sesame Street's" Big Bird, BUT, I would italicise sesame street instead of the quotes.

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