I have seen that in some styles for documenting sources quotations marks are used for the titles of short works.

What's the reason for setting this as the convention? This seems like a use-mention conflation.

e.g. One of Robert Frost’s most famous poems is “Mending Wall.”

Why isn't capitalization of the title a sufficient indicator that it is a proper name? Why require the additional quotations?

  • What if you're referring to a poem by e e cummings? – Hot Licks Aug 27 '20 at 0:00


The use of quotations is to substitute for the absence of the italic font. In published texts titles will be (should be) written in italics to set them apart. Few typewriters (remember those) had the luxury of assorted fonts. The answer was to surround a title with quotes. The practice continues even though today's choices of fonts extend beyond the horizon.

  • Interesting, that bit of history is very explanatory. Thank you! – user396883 Aug 28 '20 at 1:53

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