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Note 27 – When to use italics

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link –  If you would prefer to dive straight into note 27, then please read on…

Italics (or cursive script)

Italics are used for emphasis or to make things distinct from the descriptive text (as in this sentence).  Some writers also choose bold or underlining for emphasis.

Bernard C. Lamb in his book The Queen’s English, lists a few reasons for using italics such as: books, titles of things, foreign words, scentific names and similar items.  Please see my examples below:

  • books (as in the above sentence)
  • titles of films e.g. The Green Mile
  • titles of newspapers e.g. the Daily Mail
  • foreign words used in English text e.g. moi (me) or je ne sais quoi (I don’t know what)
  • scentific names e.g. Lepomis cyanellus (green sunfish)

Some facts

The typeface is called italic for historic reasons and is also based on the calligraphy form.  A useful fact from italic handwriting was “modelled on 16th century Italian handwriting, typically cursive and sloping and with elliptical or pointed letters”.

Hope you enjoyed today’s blog.

Until tomorrow…


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Twitter: @madeirasandra  and  @tipsandluxuries

Reference list

Bernard C. Lamb The Queen’s English (2010), UK

Online Oxford English Dictionary


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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