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Italicizing

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

Italicizing Can Be Mesmerizing

By Michael Heath / selfpublishingUS.com

italicizing - tips for writers

Maybe “mesmerizing” is a little bit too strong of a word, but italics are designed to grab the reader’s attention. Before the advent of computers, underlining a word did the same thing. I only mention this as you would never want to do both, i.e., underline and italicize a word. Italicizing is often used to specify certain creative works such as book titles, magazines, movies, TV shows, musical compositions and even software programs. Other ways they are employed:

  • To emphasize a word in a sentence

  • To highlight names of ships, aircraft, spacecraft, and trains

  • To specify a foreign word used in a sentence

  • To specify scientific names

  • To differentiate between inner monologue and dialogue

Italics should be used sparingly. Overuse of this literary tool dilutes its effectiveness. One grammar rule that will interest authors: book titles are italicized but book series should get block lettering. I learned this the hard way and it is why I always use an editor, rather than look like an amateur.


To get your manuscript edited: https://www.selfpublishingus.com/bookediting.

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