I know that the names of ships and taverns need to be italicized in the general text, but what about in dialogue..within the quotes?

  • I can understand why you might think that this would be an incongruous use of an orthographic device: quotes should be as accurate as possible, and we don't speak in italics. But by the time the words are written down as a quotation, they're in the printed medium, and they will be read by someone who needs all the help they can get. Apr 20, 2018 at 21:27

2 Answers 2


Neither CMOS, Grammarly Handbook, nor CCC give any indication that one would not italicize when within quotes. Quotation marks don't change the rules. As for italicizing tavern names, that's new to me. Or methinks maybe someone's been reading J. R. R. Tolkien.


In fiction writing except when you submit your manual to publishers or in case of self publish you can format however you want, just make sure readers can understand. Here is what most authors use:

For ships
They are punctuated exactly as they are written out on the side. For Navy Ships and please take this for an example, U.S.S Example or USS Example. For regular sailing vessels it’s “Example” unless it has a unique tag identifier like USS, RMS, or HMS. Those are abbreviated as R.M.S./RMS, H.M.S./HMS and so on. Another example is R.M.S Titanic. RMS Titanic.

In fiction writing for ships most authors only spell out unique tag identifiers once with punctuation marks and refer to the name of the ship plus the tag without the dots or just drop the tag all-together because the reader will understand. There’s no rule there because it comes up to style.

Taverns and names of other locations.

This is actually quite simple. For real and fictional places, books, works of art, etc. Capitalize the first letter in each word if it’s apart of the title.
E.g. For a book called the beauty of you where the is not apart of the title you capitalize as following: the Beauty of You.

In fiction writing you do not have to use italics for titles of books unless it’s a real existing book and it’s better you don’t because you shouldn’t be using the titles of real books in your books unless it’s a well known book which has been put into fair use like Les Miserables or you have permission too and even then you probably shouldn’t. Copyright issues. For taverns the same rules apply except the italics. Capitalize the first word of every title of the tavern. Unless tavern is apart of the tavern’s name then you don’t capitalize the word tavern.

E.g: "Millers Tavern".

Correct: There’s a tavern named Millers. (Write the name of the tavern exactly as it appears meaning only use ’s if it’s included).
Incorrect: There’s a Tavern named Millers.

I hope this helps. If anyone has any more questions don’t hesitate.

  • 1
    Book titles are not subject to copyright (because they're too short), although they can be trademarked. Simply referring to a book title is very unlikely to actionable. Also you appear to be confusing 'fair use' with 'public domain'. Oct 24, 2021 at 15:32

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