1. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    Inverted commas or Italics for emphasis?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Tyler Danann, Dec 7, 2014.

    Just wondering if this is ok?

    “Hold off with the expansion crystals until they get closer,” Owesion said to Sigrun. He gestured with a ‘cut-weave’ arrow; a type that would fly further and slide through armor with ease.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    A cut-weave arrow is just a type of arrow, right? Unless I'm missing something, there's no need for emphasis.

    Also, that semicolon should be a comma.
     
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  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, I'm with TW. Resist the urge to decorate your typography overmuch, especially since you then directly go on to explain what cut-weave means.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Italics and single quotes connote different kinds of emphasis.

    Italics in this context generally imply an emphasis one would hear if the line were spoken. Compare how you would read these two lines aloud and what they each would mean:

    She didn't like it.
    She didn't like it.
    Single quotes are used in different situations. But the emphasis you are asking about would be if one wanted to connote something like sarcasm.

    They say women achieved 'equality' when they got the right to vote.
    I hear a different vocal tone in that emphasis. Perhaps someone can articulate the difference more precisely than that.


    As for the comma vs the semicolon, use the semicolon if the second part is actually a complete sentence and not a dependent clause.
     
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  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think there may be a different target for the emphasis? With italics, the writer is emphasizing the idea or concept; with single quotation marks, the writer is emphasizing the word itself.

    Like:

    She didn't like it. - to me, that emphasizes the IDEA of liking, and the strength with which the character felt (or didn't feel) that idea;

    She didn't 'like' it. - to me calls attention to the actual word being used, with the suggestion that it's not the proper description, but without saying much about the idea behind it. Like, "She didn't 'like' it; she loved it!" makes sense to me, but "She didn't like it; she loved it!" doesn't work as well.

    ETA:

    She didn't like it - emphasizes that it was just her who had the problem;

    'She' didn't like it - emphasizes the word 'she', as if possibly the character is actually male or for some other reason 'she' is not the appropriate word to use.

    Not sure if there's a formal rule at work or if this is just my expectations.
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, in this example you give, I hear irony, dubiousness. Much more than just pay special attention to me emphasis.
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This example applies to your use of the single quotes:
     
  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    As I see it, single quotes refer to words that don't mean what they say:

    John carried the 'special' arrows--the ones that no one else wanted.

    Italics are sometimes (optionally) used for foreign words:

    John carried the pfeffernusse arrows--the ones that magically turned their targets into suger-dusted cookies.

    But a normal word or phrase in the main language doesn't need anything:

    John carried the cut-weave arrows--the ones that could slide through armor with ease.
     
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