To Beat a Grammarian: Italics

To Beat a Grammarian: Italics


For the most part, it seems most people know how to use italics, but just in case you don’t, here we go.

1) Emphasis

Like many other tools we’ve discussed, italics can emphasize something in writing, usually in the dialogue of characters. Example: she said, “I don’t see why he has to come!”

2) Thinking

Here is one area where a few may misstep. Some just put thoughts with the marker ‘he thought’ or ‘she thought,’ but many stress that it should be italicized with no quotes. For example: He shouldn’t be here, he thought. He should be at home, taking care of his wife.

3) Journals

This almost follows the same suit as above, as most journals and diaries are written in a similar tone to our internal thoughts. Example: My world is done. I can’t take it anymore. Why does he always let Tom do whatever he wants, but me! Me! I can never get away with anything.


Personally, I’d have to say I tend to look at italics as the same as bold text. I don’t much care for it and try to avoid it as much as possible. I prefer the much more subtle forms of emphasis, like the hyphen. I feel the italics is a bit of a nuisance, having to go all the way to the top of the screen just to use it. Nonetheless, I can see when and where it is useful.

Give me your thoughts and comments

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