Italicized Words: What Do They Mean?


italicized words

What are Italics?

In the art of written text, italic is a type of font based on a stylized form of calligraphy. More so, it is a type of style where the letters are slanted upward to the right.
The English language dictionary describes italics as letters that lean to the right.

How to italicize

Italicized words are usually achieved by writing letters slanting upwards to the right. To italicize a word when typing, select and highlight the text first. Then, hold down the control key on the keyboard and then press the I on the keyboard.

What does it mean when a word is italicized?

To italicize is to write words in italics. Italics in text are for calling attention to certain words in a sentence. Other reasons for using italicized words are:

  • To provide emphasis

1. A word can be written in italics in a sentence to emphasize it.

The robbers stole ten cars.
Here, ten is italicized to emphasize the number of cars stolen.

2. To show contrast

Having a word italicized can show contrast between two words or phrases,. You might want to italicize that phrase so that your readers don’t miss it.
I managed to italicize not ten but twenty words.
Using italics to provide emphasis or show contrast is only accepted in informal writing. Most style guidelines advise against italicizing, especially in formal, professional or academic writing. In most cases, it’s preferable to use syntax ( arrangement of phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language) to emphasize your point in these scenarios.

3. For titles of works

Italics are also commonly used to write titles of songs, plays, movies,  newspapers, magazines and albums. Italicizing book titles is also a common use. Book titles italics will let you know the name of the book, right away, after reading the sentence.
I read an interesting article in the New York Times today
Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s best reads.
One of my favorite albums is the beetle’s album revolver.

4. For non-English words

When writing a non- English word in an English sentence, we use italics to denote the word or words.
The Latin word binomial nomenclature is used in Biology language.

5. For biological names

Biological names such as species and genus names are always italicized.
Homo sapiens belong to the human species
Also note that in writing biological words, the first word is capitalized but the second one is not.

6. With names of cars, boats and other man-made  vessels

We italicize man-made vessels put in a sentence. However, if it is a brand name such as Ford or Corvette, do not italicize.
The Titanic sank a long time ago.
We boarded the Boeing when we were traveling.

7. In place of quotation marks

Content that was meant to be in quotation marks can be italicized instead and still maintain the same meaning
Example: The word “italics” comes from a Greek word meaning “Italy”.
You would also consider having it as
The word italics comes from a Greek word meaning Italy.

8. English dictionary examples

Examples are in italics to after defining a word.

The examples of how to use the defined word in a sentence are italicized.

9. References in the Chicago and MLA style

We italicize the references of written content on the last page of articles.

10. To denote legal cases. 

When naming a legal case in a paper, italicize the case title. You should also italicize the legal case name on your works cited page or bibliography.
The famous case of Gideon v. Wainwright was a landmark in American legal history.

Are anime titles italicized?

We italicize anime titles if they refer to the name of an anime movie or book. The dictionary will also italicize anime titles when they mention them.

There are some rules to be followed when using italics in  English

1.Try not to use italics for too many different reasons in a single document.
For instance, if the document has a lot of titles and foreign words, you may want to find a different way of creating emphasis.
2. If you italicize a word or any part of a document, do it consistently.
For example, if you’re using italics for loan words in one part of an essay, every other loan word would have to be italicized.
3. There are certain titles of things that all style guides agree we should not italicize, if ever used in a sentence.

  • Award titles (Best Actress)
  • Commercial products (Coca-cola)
  • Public documents (Bill of Rights)
  • Legal documents (Child custody)
  • Names of artifacts (Mona Lisa Painting)
  • Names of buildings (Twin Towers)
  • Political documents (Declaration of Independence)
  • Scriptures of major religions (the Bible, the Quran)
  • Software (Mozilla Firefox)
  • Traditional games(checkers)

4. Don’t italicize or capitalize the word “the” at the beginning of titles. 
Even if “the” is part of the official name, such as “The Times Magazine,” most style guides recommend that you do not capitalize or italicize “the” when it comes at the beginning of a title.
Did you read today’s copy of the Times Magazine?


Show Buttons
Hide Buttons