1. E. C. Scrubb

    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' 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

    captain kate Active Member

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    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

    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    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

    captain kate Active Member

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    It's been a couple years so I'm drawing a blank.
     
  5. Ian J.

    Ian J. Active Member

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    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

    captain kate Active Member

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    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

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    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

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!
     
  9. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Really!? Can you give an example? I'm curious.
     
  10. E. C. Scrubb

    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    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.
     

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