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Old 12-09-2012, 01:22 AM   #1
msd
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Iím confused about italics.

Is there a rule about italics? In some books that I read, whenever a place is mentioned by name it is written in italics. I also noticed that some will use italics to stress a point.

I remember reading a novel based on an American civil War battle and whenever the writerís non fictional character is saying something that is found in history books, he would use italics so the reader would know that the words are part of recorded history and not the author's creation.

What puzzles me is some books use these techniques and others donít, how do I know what technique to use?
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:40 AM   #2
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You might check something like the Purdue OWL for the MLA style guide as to how to handle such things. It applies to academic writing, but the formatting for handling quoted material is pretty straightforward and clear. Italics are not used for such things, but longer quotes are set off as "block quotes" with uniform indentation.

In fiction, italics tend to be used (sparingly) for occasional emphasis of a word or phrase, or sometimes to indicate unexpressed thoughts.

caw
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:14 PM   #3
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"Did you see that movie about the RMS Titanic? It's called Titanic."

"You're wrong, amigo. It's called A Night to Remember. I bought the DVD from Amazon.com."

"No, you're wrong. I read about it in the New York Times."

"Maybe you don't know what the word wrong means."

Last edited by guttersquid; 12-09-2012 at 12:16 PM. Reason: added spaces for better visual
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Old 12-09-2012, 09:38 PM   #4
Chase
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guttersquid View Post
"Did you see that movie about the RMS Titanic? It's called Titanic."

"You're wrong, amigo. It's called A Night to Remember. I bought the DVD from Amazon.com."

"No, you're wrong. I read about it in the New York Times."

"Maybe you don't know what the word wrong means."
Thoroughly enjoyed your examples of italics for names of ships, foreign words, movie titles, names of newspapers, and emphasis on special words.

Iím amazed a website would be italicized.

More:

USS Enterprise easily sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge while the restored Enola Gay flew over.

Amtrakís Willamette Valley was a daily train connecting Portland and Eugene, Oregon, in the Ď80s.

"Kansas City" was my favorite song in Broadwayís Oklahoma!
 
In fiction, many writers use the alternative of italics to indicate thoughts as different from the spoken word: Perfect, she thought, another wasted kiss on a frog.

Probably not useful for most writers, but I use italics to indicate silent sign language: Name-me-B-O-B, he signed. Nice-meet-you-too.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blacbird View Post
You might check something like the Purdue OWL for the MLA style guide as to how to handle such things. It applies to academic writing, but the formatting for handling quoted material is pretty straightforward and clear. Italics are not used for such things, but longer quotes are set off as "block quotes" with uniform indentation.

In fiction, italics tend to be used (sparingly) for occasional emphasis of a word or phrase, or sometimes to indicate unexpressed thoughts.

caw
Thank you for the web reference, I will use it.

I also found another reference book similar to the MLA.

I find it to be a little pricey, but I have a lot to learn.

A Writer's Reference: With Exercises
by Diana Hacker
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Please forgive any spelling errors; English is not my first language.

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Old 12-11-2012, 05:24 AM   #6
Theo K. Sly
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For those of you planning to publish on Kindle, you should be aware that KDP does not allow the use of italics. Createspace does allow italics, but that is for paperback publishing, not e-book. Therefore, if you use italics in your writing, you should do it for a specific reason, then, if you decide to publish on Kindle you need to get that purpose across some other way.

For example (in Createspace). "I was surprised that she said that to me.
(In Kindle). I was surprised that she said that to me--her dear friend who loved her.

Sincerely,

Theo K. Sly
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theo K. Sly View Post
For those of you planning to publish on Kindle, you should be aware that KDP does not allow the use of italics. Createspace does allow italics, but that is for paperback publishing, not e-book. Therefore, if you use italics in your writing, you should do it for a specific reason, then, if you decide to publish on Kindle you need to get that purpose across some other way.

For example (in Createspace). "I was surprised that she said that to me.
(In Kindle). I was surprised that she said that to me--her dear friend who loved her.

Sincerely,

Theo K. Sly

I find this incredibly hard to believe. Can anyone confirm this? The KDP site says you can use italics.
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