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Typographical usageEdit


  1. Used to stress a word.
    Smith wasn't the only guilty party, it's true.
  2. Used in titles of works that stand by themselves, such as books (including those within a larger series), albums, paintings, plays, and periodicals. (Works that appear within larger works, such as short stories, poems, or newspaper articles, are not italicized, but merely set off in quotation marks.)
    He wrote his thesis on The Scarlet Letter.
  3. Used in names of ships.
    The Queen Mary sailed last night.
  4. Used to mark a word as foreign.
    A splendid coq au vin was served.
  5. (biology) Sometimes used in taxonomic names, except for the author when mentioned. (Note that taxonomic names are now written with the first initial uppercase and the rest lowercase, except the author name.)
    Homo sapiens
    Aquila haeliaca adalberti
    Pegasus volitans Linnaeus, 1758
  6. Used with a letter or number mentioned by itself.
    John was annoyed; they had forgotten the h in his name once again.
    When she saw her name beside the 1 on the rankings, she finally had proof that she was the best.
  7. Used when introducing or defining terms.
    Freudian psychology is based on the ego, the super-ego, and the id.
  8. Indicates a character's thought process.
    This can't be happening, thought Mary.
  9. (mathematics, physics) Used with algebraic symbols (constants and variables).
    The solution is x = 2.
    The speed of light, c, is approximately equal to 3.00×108 m/s.
  10. (biology) Used in gene names.
  11. (used in comics) Used with a robot's speech, or speech coming from a radio, television, telephone, or other electronic construct.


  • / /, * *, _ _ (stresses a word when italics are unavailable)

See alsoEdit

Entry-like pages (edit)
Typography Capital letter · Superscript · Subscript
Italics · Boldface · Underline · Strikethrough
Semantics Possessive
Suprasegmentals Repetition