By Lori Spencer

When in doubt about how a title should be punctuated, most professional writers and editors turn to a style manual. In the world of journalism, editors typically use the Associated Press Stylebook, the Chicago Manual of Style or the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing.

There is no absolute standard on how to punctuate titles, however. Styles may vary by industry — for example, Western medical texts conform to the American Medical Association’s Manual of Style — and most publishers have their own in-house style guide for writers to follow. The waters can be muddied even further when a style guide written for one country may conflict with rules of grammar in other countries.

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