How to Use Quotation Marks with Short Story Titles

Contributor: Linda Price. Lesson ID: 10113

You need to write the title of a book in an essay or article. How do you distinguish between a short story and a novel? You mean there is a difference? Yes, there is, and you will learn it today!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Many of America's favorite authors wrote short stories that have keen insights into the American culture, and are essential to being a well-read person.

  • Do you know how can you tell if your teacher is talking about a short story and not a novel?
  • Is there any punctuation mark that will identify the writing as a short story?

Read the following text:

Ms. Smith assigned several texts to be read over the holidays. One was "The Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst. She also wanted us to read The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. She wanted us to make a comparison of the two stories, but I didn't know how to begin. I asked my brother John, who was studying literature in college, and he gave me some suggestions.

  • Can you identify which one is a short story and which one is a novel by their punctuation?

The titles of short stories are enclosed in "quotation marks," and the titles of novels are italicized.

Look at the following examples:

Short stories

  • "The Gift of the Magi"

  • "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"

  • "The Lottery"


  • War and Peace

  • The Great Gatsby

  • The Old Man and the Sea

That seems simple enough, so continue on to the Got It? section for some quick practice.

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