Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 1 month ago

Using italics to emphasize unusual word?

When using a word that is unusual or likely new to readers of an essay, it is common to put it in italics (or quotation marks). If the same word is repeated throughout the rest of a paragraph and/or essay, should it still be italicized in every following case, or only the first time?


or a foreign word

2 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    A common rule of writing style is to place all foreign phrases in italics, no matter how many times they might appear.  The use of italics to declare a "new" word is sometimes used in the first instance, when the word is also defined with associated context.  Bold face, quotation marks, italics, or nothing  may be employed on the first instance, depending upon which style rules you are following and what, exactly, the purpose is in the specific context. I usually employ either quotation marks or nothing at all, when introducing a term that I define by the adjoining text. Acronyms I will boldface on first use. Italics, for me, are for Titles (where I can actually use italics, and if I cannot, then I use quotations).

    Schooling doesn't actually spend a lot of time explaining the difference between style and grammar, so it is not at all uncommon that people do not know for sure what they are supposed to do in many situations.  When it comes to style, it depends on whose rules of style you are following.  There are many possible rules of style.

    Usually, when you make a professional document, the editor or publisher will impose a style to follow. General uses like letters or whatever can follow whatever "style" you were taught when young.  The only truly important thing about style is that you need to follow the rules consistently, whatever rules they are, whether Chicago Manual of Style, Harvard style, Oxford Style, or whatever.  The Chicago Manual of Style is a fairly common one used for American English.

    Some of us only go so far as obeying the ideas presented in Strunk and White ("Elements of Style"), which is a very short little summary of basic ways that a person should write. It is a very good source and I suggest you get a copy.

    I don't have much reason to have a defined style for reference forms or whatever atypical text forms when I am not writing a professional paper employing references, and any such paper will be intended for publication by someone who has a mandated style that I must follow, so that is what I follow for that work.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Better not to italicise but either choose a word that the reader understands, 

    or define it properly as part of the text. Repeatedly italicising is confusing and 

    almost always gives undue emphasis to the term.

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