Formatting Tip: Italics

Posted April 6, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Formatting Tips, Self-Editing, Writing

This post on italics is far from complete and will probably be a never-ending project. If you have questions on whether to italicize something that is not covered here or with which you disagree, I’d appreciate your contacting me or making a comment. A comment is probably best if only to keep it in a public forum, so everyone benefits. Besides me, that is *grin*

Formatting Tips started…

…as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with words that should have been capitalized or italicized, in quotes or not, what should be spelled out and what can be abbreviated, proper styling for the Latin names of plants, the proper formatting and usage of titles and more in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this style tip with friends by tweeting it.

Italics
Credit to: Purdue Owl Engagement; Chicago Manual of Style, 8.182; AP vs. Chicago; Concise Rules of APA Style
Formatting The same rules apply to any abbreviations and to website titles.
Post Contents:

Academic journals
See Journals for more detail.

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Almanacs
Always italicize.

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Artwork, drawings, paintings, photographs, statues
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago

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Chicago:
If the artwork’s name is part of a building, prize, organization, etc.
AP Style
Blogs
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago:
Blog names

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Chicago:
Blog posts
Books
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use quotes
Published only
Novellas or long stories IF they have been published in individual bindings

APA:

Microfilm publications
Periodicals

Chicago

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Unpublished book titles
Bible, the Koran
Book series
Dictionaries
Directories
Editions
Encyclopedias
Short stories

AP Style

Chicago:
Chapter titles, but not chapter numbers

Cartoon and webcomic titles
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago
Catalog titles
Always italicize.

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Computers
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Computer and video games (See Games for more detail.)

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Software that is not a game
Conferences
Always italicize.

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Court case names
Always italicize.

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Definitions explained in a sentence
Always italicize.

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Dialogue – Internal thoughts
Always italicize.

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Dissertations
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Accepted only

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Unaccepted
Emphasis
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
APA, AP Style, Chicago

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APA, AP Style, Chicago:
Ideally, provide emphasis using the syntax
Essays
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes

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Chicago:
Titles of essays
Events
Always italicize.

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Exhibitions
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago:
Exhibitions – Small

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Chicago:
Exhibitions – Large
Fairs
Always italicize.

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Films
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago

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AP Style
Foreign language, a.k.a., non-English words
Always Italicize

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Never Italicize Use Quotes
oui
enchanté
fait accompli

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APA, AP Style, Chicago:
UNLESS they have been absorbed into the English language – patio, sombrero, foyer, etc.

  • Check the dictionary. If the word is in an English dictionary, it is considered absorbed.

Proper name of a foreigner
Name of a foreign city
A street name

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Games (Also see rules on capitalization)
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Board, Video, & eGames * such as:

Scrabble

World of Warcraft

* “The justification … is that such games have a narrative and are therefore equivalent to films” (Daily Writing Tips).

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Traditional games such as hopscotch, jump rope, tic-tac-toe, etc.

Marco Polo

Names of kinds of software (Daily Writing Tips)

AP:
Video games

eGames (* “The justification … is that such games have a narrative and are therefore equivalent to films” (Daily Writing Tips).

Gazetteers
Always italicize.

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Genera and species
Credit to: Chicago Manual of Style, 8.127-8.134 & 8.138
For example, Lavandula Genus angustifolia specific epithet ‘Munstead’ cultivar

Genus specificEpithet var. variety ‘cultivar’

See abbreviations for proper shortening usage and capitalization for developed and trademarked varieties.

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Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
APA
AP Style
Chicago

Genus specificEpithet ssp. subspeciesEpithet 1

Trogon collaris puella

1 Always capitalize the genus; NEVER capitalize the specificEpithet.


With variety:
Genus specificEpithet var. variety


Combine variety with cultivar:
Genus specificEpithet var. variety ‘cultivar’


National Geographic:
Pharamachus Genus mocinno species mocinno subspecies

Bambusa Genus vulgaris species var. striata variety

Pharamachus Genus mocinno species mocinno subspecies NameOfScientist in Roman, add name of scientist


Phylum, subphylum, class, subclass, order, suborder, family, subfamily are capped and roman:
The Pharamachus belong to the family Trogonidae.

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With cultivar:
Genus specificEpithet ‘cultivar’

Author names (person who proposed specific epithet)

Higher divisions than genus (see Plant Abbreviations for more information):

  • class (Chondrichthyes)
  • family (Hominidae)
  • form
  • orders (Monotremata)
  • phyla (Chordata)
  • variety
With cultivar:
The convention in botany is to enclose the name of the cultivar in single quotation marks with any following punctuation outside the quotation marks.


Genus specificEpithet ‘cultivar’
Guidebooks
Always italicize.

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Handbooks
Always italicize.

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Journals
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago

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Chicago:
Not if part of a name of an award, an organization, etc.
Lectures
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Lecture series

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AP Style, Chicago:
Individual lectures require quotes in
Letters used as:

Statistical symbols or algebraic variables
Some test scores and scales
Periodical volume numbers in reference lists
Anchors of a scale (never use quotation marks)

(APA, p50-51)

Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
APA:

F(1, 53) = 10.03

t test

trial n

Rorschach scores: F + %, Z

43, 78-89

Books are rated from 1 (low) to 5 (high)

Response options ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).

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APA:

Letters used as abbreviations

Magazines
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago

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AP Style

Chicago:
NOT if part of a name of an award, an organization, etc.

Titles of magazine articles
Meetings
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes

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Chicago:
ONLY if the meeting has status
Mottos
Always italicize.

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Music
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Albums
Long musical compositions
Musicals
Operas
Operettas
Oratorios
AP Style
Orchestral works with a specific name

Symphonie erotique

Individual instrumental works that are identified by their generic names — symphony, quartet, nocturne, etc.:

Nocturne in E-flat Major, op. 9, no. 2

Symphony in D Minor

Movements:

Intermezzo

Chicago:
Instrumental works
Instrumental works
Name of the artist, ensemble, or group
Opus
Music scores (published only) Music scores (unpublished)
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AP Style, Chicago:

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Call Me

U + Ur Hand

Newspapers
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago

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Chicago:
Not if part of a name of an award, an organization, etc.
Titles of newspaper articles
Pamphlets
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago

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Photographs
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago

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Plants, see Genera and species
Plays
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago

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AP Style
Podcasts
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago

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Chicago:
podcast episodes
Poems
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Long poems
Tone poems

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Short poems
Titles of longer works that would normally be italicized IF published separately are encased in quotation marks if part of a longer collection or anthology, e.g., The Complete Works of John Milton includes “Paradise Lost” and “Samson Agonistes”.
Products, includes but is not limited to
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
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* There may be issues of capitalization for cocktails or wines or product names.
Punctuation after italicized words
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
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The apostrophe s after an italicized word, e.g., New Magazine‘ s
Radio
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago:
Radio programs and series

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AP Style:
Programs and series

Chicago:
Episodes of a radio show series

Reports
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago

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Restaurants, stores, buildings
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes

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Restaurants, stores, buildings
Reverse italics
There will be times when a block of text is italicized and a term/phrase/title/++ that is normally italicized is a part of this block. When this occurs, reverse the italics, i.e., romanize the normally italicized.

For example, if a sentence were italicized and terms that normally would be italicized are in the sentence such as:

Do we really have to read War and Peace again?

We’ll have to cut back the Hedera helix before it takes over the house.

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Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago:
Anything other than a title of a work is romanized

Do we really have to read War and Peace again?

We’ll have to cut back the Hedera helix before it takes over the house.

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Chicago:
Encases a title of a work in quotes.

Do we really have to read “War and Peace” again?

We’ll have to cut back the “Hedera helix” before it takes over the house.

Short stories
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes

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Chicago:
Titles of short stories
Signs and notices
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
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Sounds
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Words Into Type
A combination of letters used to represent sound

When the vintage horn blared its signature note, ah-oo-gah, Jim leapt to his feet.

He could have sworn the owl was saying who…who, who.

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He let out a whoosh of air.

The steady boom of the thunder.

Speeches
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes

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AP Style

Chicago:
only if the speech has status

Statistical Symbols
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
APA:
Most statistical symbols
Television
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Chicago:
Television shows, programs, series

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Formal names of broadcast channels AP Style, Chicago:
Television shows, programs, series

Chicago:
Episodes of a TV series

Terms; labels; technical words; or, letters, words, or phrases cited as a linguistic example that are introduced for the first time
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
For example:

  • HTML and CSS manuals refer to elements
  • The box labeled SPIE-5
  • Start with the line that begins G-O-F

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APA:
Chemical terms
Trigonometric terms
Non-statistical subscripts for statistical symbols or mathematical expressions

  • Fmax
  • SA + SB

Greek letters

Thoughts
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Thoughts that are not spoken are italicized with quotation marks removed.

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Vehicle names
Rule: When abbreviations such as USS (United States ship) or HMS (Her [or His] Majesty’s ship) precede a name, the word ship or other vessel type should not be used. The abbreviations themselves are not italicized. For much useful information, consult Eric Wertheim, The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World.
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Airplanes:

  • the Spirit of St. Louis
  • The Enola Gay

Locomotives – Casey Jones
Specific rockets, space shuttles, etc.

  • Phoenix Mars lander
  • the space shuttle Discovery

Specific ships and other vessels (ONLY the name, not the prefix or the classification) are capitalized and italicized:

  • HMS Trafalgar
  • USS Enterprise
    • the Enterprise
    • USS SC-530
    • the US ship SC-530
  • M/S DD-745
  • HMS Frolic
    • the British ship Frolic

Credit to: Eric Wertheim

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Ship class (ship types are NOT italicized)

  • Maryland class
  • ice class
  • C-class destroyers
  • Hamburg class

Chicago:
Names of makes and classes of aircraft, models of automobiles and other vehicles, names of train runs, and names of space programs are capitalized but not italicized.

  • Acela Express
  • Boeing 747
  • Concorde
  • Metroliner
  • Project Apollo
  • Toyota Prius
  • Mars global surveyor
  • Mars polar lander
Website names
Always Italicize Never Italicize Use Quotes
Return to top Website names Chicago:
Web pages and sections
Words that could be misread
needs examples

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