1. E. C. Scrubb
    Offline

    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Southwest US

    A New (and Specific) Question on an Old Issue: Italics in Narrative.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by E. C. Scrubb, Dec 21, 2012.

    I know that for the most part, italics does not belong in fiction outside of italicizing foreign words. I've ran into another issue however. In the middle of my narrative, I want to refer to the term as the term. In academia, that's done by italics. What about fiction? Using quotes signals dialogue, so I thought that wasn't right. I've thought about single quote marks, but that's normally used inside other quotes and I don't think I've seen it anywhere else (American English).

    Any thoughts? Here's the line.

     
  2. captain kate
    Offline

    captain kate Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Messages:
    876
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Cruising through space.
    If you go by the Chicago Book of Style, then no. There really isn't a need to italicize the word supposed in your writing. Italicization is done by the publisher when they print the book.
     
  3. E. C. Scrubb
    Offline

    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Southwest US
    I've always interpreted CMS 7.58 as using italics in a situation like this one. Of course, with an almost thousand-page book, there's probably three or four places where it touches on the issue, and may be more specific to manuscripts vs. general writing, so I'm wondering what I missed. Do you remember where you found that?
     
  4. captain kate
    Offline

    captain kate Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Messages:
    876
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Cruising through space.
    It's been a couple years so I'm drawing a blank.
     
  5. Ian J.
    Offline

    Ian J. Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    London, England
    I've been under the impression that italicizing a word when heavily stressed, either in narrative or dialogue, is fine. But I am used to British English, so am I missing something that is not the norm for the American market?
     
  6. captain kate
    Offline

    captain kate Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Messages:
    876
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Cruising through space.
    I'm sorry I meant Strunk and White on my responses. I asked someone off list about it because I was getting myself confused. She said that whatever words you want to see italicized should be underlined in the manuscript.

    *I cannot take credit for that information. It came from someone else.*
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    The word should be quoted. The context is a reference to the word, which I would assume comes from earlier dialogue. Otherwise, it makes little sense.

    There are three main legitimate uses for italics:
    1. Stressing a word or short phrase that receives an emphasis that it would not ordinarily receive in that sentence.
    2. A foreign word or phrase.
    3. The title of a creative work; also the names of ships and some other vehicles.

    Italics are not duct tape to fix unclear writing, although many new (and some not-so-new) writers use them that way.

    Also, publishers are often guilty of using italics even when the writer knows better than to put them in a manuscript.
     
  8. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    ditto that!
     
  9. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Really!? Can you give an example? I'm curious.
     
  10. E. C. Scrubb
    Offline

    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Southwest US
    Thanks everyone.

    Figuring out style differences between academia and this kind of writing is frustrating at times, but the help here is great. I really appreciate it.
     

Share This Page