If you have ever needed to cite the name of a TV show in a paper or another form of professional writing, you have probably wondered what the rules are related to quotations around the show’s name. There are a variety of different rules that govern the way that you refer to the names of books, movies, and TV in professional writing.
TV shows are typically placed in quotes. Most professional writing will defer to the MLA citation style. When MLA is used, the rules state that the name of a show will need to be italicized when referenced in writing. You will use quotations for other things, like direct quotes from someone’s writing or a speech. You might also use quotations for a unique episode of a TV show. You will never use quotes for the general name of a TV show, however.
Why Do MLA Rules Matter?
If you are only writing the name of a TV show in an informal way to a friend or sending it in a text message, you don’t need to use MLA formatting. However, in writing for school, publication, or professional purposes, you need to use proper citations. This formatting lets people know that the things that you are referencing are the name of a show, and it allows you to properly cite the creators of the TV show in your work.
Those who are used to writing professionally might also be familiar with some of the other citation styles, such as APA citations. You will need to verify with employers or publishing entities which reference style they want you to use. A professor could have a unique preference as well, and it might be worth asking about this information before you make any assumptions.
Knowing how to cite people’s creations is key so that you are giving credit where it is due. When you don’t take the time to properly cite creations like writing, theater productions, or TV, you don’t notify readers that the thing you are referencing was produced by someone else and can be viewed or verified by those who are interested in the citation directly.
Correct Citations Are Critical in Formal Writing
The bottom line when citing TV show names is that if you think that someone will see your writing in a publication or it is for school, MLA or APA-style citation formatting needs to be used. You do not have to worry about putting the name of a TV show in italics in casual correspondence, however. Make sure that you never use quotes for the name of a TV show and that you always use italic font for this kind of citation.
This article was last updated on August 28, 2023 .