Italics are typographical devices meant to distinguish certain words from others within a sentence. When used for emphasis, writers should only use them occasionally as they lose their impact if overused.
Italics are used for the titles of books, novels, lengthy poems, newspapers, periodicals, pamphlets, movies, plays, television series, operas and other full-length musical compositions.
An Essay on Criticism
Los Angeles Times
When newspapers and periodicals start with an initial the
, even when part of the official title, the initial the
is not italicized and lowercased
(unless it begins the sentence). Example
: She often reads the New York Times
during her lunch hour. (Newspaper – The New York Times)
Italicize the titles of books, but not the titles of holy works (including books of the Bible). Example
: Wuthering Heights
, Oliver Twist
, the Bible, the Koran, Exodus, Corinthians, and Genesis.
Italicize works of art, other than architecture; italicize proper names of ships, planes, automobiles and trains, but not varieties or brand names.
Van Gogh’s Starry Night
(work of art)
Sydney Opera House (architecture)
Ford Explorer (model name of automobile)
Boeing 747 (model name of airplane)
Italicize scientific names of plants and animals. Example
: Cynara scolymus
, Equus caballus
Certain words and phrases in foreign languages, if likely to be unfamiliar to the reader. Example
: He realized he had unwittingly committed yet another faux pas
Legal cases. Example
: Roe v. Wade
Words as words. Example
: She finds it difficult to explain italicizing
in a simple, straightforward manner.
When reproducing sounds. Example
: The rock hit her windshield with a loud thunk
For emphasis. Example
: There are entirely
different rules for newspaper writing.
Hope that helps!