View Full Version : italics or bold when emphasizing a word

first time writer
10-16-2006, 10:17 PM
when i am writing a passage and i want to emphasize or stress a word should i italisize it or bold it. Ex: I really wanted to go to that ball game. or I really wanted to go to that ball game.

Or is there another rule involved here?


first time writer

10-16-2006, 10:22 PM
I prefer to see italics for emphasis in fiction. I'm sure bold is an alternative, but, personally, italics do it for me.

Grab a few of your favourite novels off your shelf and flip through to see if they ever use bold for emphasis. My feeling is that it's rare and italics are more standard.

10-17-2006, 12:56 AM
Italics - which you show in your ms. by underlining.

10-17-2006, 01:02 AM
I'm not an expert, but I read them here on AW :D While I agree wholeheartedly with Arrowqueen who I consider quite expert, and CaroGirl whose advise is solidly in the common sense corner...

Shouldn't one check the submissions guidelines and then edit the ms to that standard - in case it varies from publisher to publisher?

Understanding, of course, that before you're finished and ready to submit, you can do whatever you want so you'll know what has to be fixed before submitting...for example you could mark all emphatic text in your draft with something that's easy for the global replace function to find and change, maybe?

I'm probably not helping at all...but now I'm subscribed to this thread and can see what the experts think!

10-17-2006, 01:13 AM
I've always preferred italics for emphasis. So far, in my limited submission experience, the guidelines I've come across request that all text you want in italics should be underlined, and any text you require in bold is to be double underlined.

But as Dawno says, guidelines are going to vary from agent to agent, so it always pays to check and edit accordingly.

While I'm writing, I use italics, then replace that with whatever is called for prior to submission.

10-17-2006, 01:26 AM
According to a typesetter I know on another board, use italics unless your editor says to underline. She says bold does not belong in a novel.

But always, always check for explicit guidelines--don't give anyone an excuse for rejecting you without even reading your stuff.

10-17-2006, 02:06 AM
Very true. I'm just going by the general rule here - but always check the submission guidelines, just in case thet want something different.