Style Tip: Italics vs. Quotation Marks

Having trouble deciding whether to use italics or quotation marks
to emphasize a word or phrase?

Here are the simple rules to help you determine which method is appropriate, according to the Chicago Manual of Style, Sixteenth Edition, Chapter Seven:

Italics may be used to emphasize the importance of a word (though overuse will cause the italics to lose their force), and may be used for isolated words and phrases in a foreign language if they are unlikely to be familiar to readers.

Italics are also used to call attention to key terms in a particular context. In most cases, key terms are italicized on their first occurrence, and thereafter are best set in roman.

Quotation marks, or "scare quotes," when used with a particular word or phrase imply, "this is not my term" or "this is not how the term is usually applied."

See? Easy peasy when you know the rules!


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