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English Grammar And Writing

Using Italic Font

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Italics are one of the most important font types. They are used to emphasize or distinguish words when writing a document. Used properly, they are an effective way to help the reader. In this lesson, you will learn what italics are and when and how to use them correctly.
Italic Font

Italic Font

It may be difficult to imagine, but before computers, nearly every document was either written by hand or printed with the slow process of changing each letter by hand on a printing press. With computers, everything changed. Before computers, special italic fonts were used. With computers, it is very easy to create italics, which are now commonly used.

Italic font is a style of typeface. Fonts are the many styles of type used in writing and printing. Most writing is printed in roman font, which are the regular upright letters you normally see. However, italic font is a special font that is slightly slanted to the right. This means that when you are reading it, it is noticeably different than the rest of the text:

This sentence is in italic font.

Using Italics

It is important to remember that there might be different italic rules for different formatting styles, like Modern Language Association (MLA), or American Psychological Association (APA). While these are important, what matters is the preferred writing method, defined as the style guide, used by your school, employer, or organization.

Whatever style guide you use, always be consistent and use the same rule throughout your document. There are, however, some generally accepted rules for using italics:

Titles

Usually, all titles are italicized. This includes the title of a book, a newspaper, a magazine, a play, a CD or album (song title are usually put in quotes), a movie, or a TV show. You don't italicize short stories, or episodes in a TV series. One important exception: do not italicize the Bible.

  • I love it when The Simpsons makes funny references to famous plays or movies, like Hamlet, Spiderman, or The Matrix.
  • For the school talent show, the students made a parody of "All the Single Ladies" from Beyonce's CD, I Am... Sasha Fierce.
  • The Bible is an important set of books in Christianity.

Emphasis or Contrast

Italic font is used to show emphasis or contrast in order to highlight the importance of a word or subject.

  • I thought it would cost $9.00, but it cost $59.00!
  • Elizabeth said, "I can't believe it! You are eating snails?"

Elizabeth dislikes snails. By using italics, the writer is showing that Elizabeth really dislikes snails. Be careful, though. Some people, like teachers, do not like this because they believe you should let the reader decide what is important instead of using italics for emphasis or contrast.

Sounds Reproduced as Words

When you are writing a sound and trying to reproduce the sound, you use italics. This is commonly done in children's books. You don't, however, italicize every sound. Only italicize when you are trying to demonstrate the sound.

The frightened cow let out a long moooooooooo before jumping over the moon.

Legal Cases

You use italics when listing or citing particular legal cases.

1954's Brown v. Board of Education was a Supreme Court landmark case in the battle for civil rights' equality.

Names of Vehicles

You italicize names of boats, trains, other methods of transportation, and even satellites that are given names. You don't, however, italicize the names of cars.

  • Many people lost their lives when the Titanic sank.
  • Sputnik 1 was an important 1957 Russian advance in the field of space discovery.
  • We are very excited to the take the new Orient Express.
  • Corvette used to be a very popular car brand.

Words In a Foreign Language

When you write a word in a foreign language, you use italics. If you use the word again in your document, you only need to italicize the first time.

  • In France, I would wake up everyday and hear bon jour wherever I went.
  • Her clothes have a certain je ne sais quoi, a style that is hard to define.

Introducing a Term

When you are introducing a term, you usually italicize the term.

When comparing macroeconomics versus microeconomics, it is important to remember the words 'big' and 'little.'

Zoological Names, Physical Quantities, and Mathematical Terms

Zoological names, physical quantities, and mathematical terms are usually italicized in writing. These are ideas or things that are scientific constants and do not change.

  • Tomatoes are classified as magnoliopsida, flowering plants, and thus are considered fruits, not vegetables.
  • Many people have heard of Einstein's famous equation, E=mc 2 but do not know what it represents: E(energy) is equal to m (mass) times c (the speed of light) 2 (squared).
  Umbreen Aleem       Thursday, 02 Jan 2020       200 Views

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