Consult the Chicago Manual for general rules about the use of italics. Italics are used in typeset material to help readers quickly identify certain words and phrases, such as foreign expressions or book titles. Typeset material and material produced on computer should not contain underlining.
NOTE: In general, do not try to emphasize a word or idea through use of underlining, italics, or boldface type, or by capitalizing every letter in a word or the first letter of a word not a proper noun. Rather, emphasize through skillful use of language, such as putting the material to be emphasized at the beginning or end of the sentence.
Titles of dissertations and theses, manuscripts in collections, lectures and papers read at meetings, machine copies of typescripts (photocopies, mimeographs, etc.) are set in roman type and quoted. Names of depositories, archives, and the like, and names of manuscript collections are capped and set in roman type without quotation marks.
Latin scholarly terms, other language words
Although italics are used for sic, other Latin scholarly words and commonly used international language words are set in roman (for example, ibid., in situ, et al., ennui). Words not common in English usage are italicized. Consult Webster’s. If the word is listed in the “Foreign Words and Phrases” section of Webster’s, it should be italicized. If it’s in the regular listings, make it roman.
plurals, possessives of italicized words
When you make an italicized word plural or possessive (name of a magazine, book, etc.), make only the name italic. The s or ’s should be in roman type.
It is the Washington Post’s view that the bill should not be passed.
Use small italic letters to show a rhyme scheme.
Shakespearean sonnet: abab, cdcd, efef, gg
punctuation around italics
Except for apostrophes, punctuation that follows or precedes an italic word also is set in italics.
references to words as words and letters as letters; grades
References to words as words are italicized, as are references to letters as letters. The exception is letter grades, which are capped and in roman type.
The words of the were left out of the sentence.
She had to add an s to make the word plural.
The teacher didn’t give a grade higher than B.
scientific names of plants and animals
The genus name is capped, species name lowercased, and both always are in italics.
Divisions larger than genus—phylum, class, order, and family—are capped and roman, as are intermediate groupings. See section the Chicago Manual for examples.
Technical terms, if followed by explanation, are usually in italics the first time they are mentioned.
titles of works
See the Chicago Manual for a complete explanation and more examples of italic/nonitalic titles. Also see Punctuation section of this manual.
The following are italicized:
- art exhibit titles and catalogs
- book titles
- brochures and pamphlets
- movie titles
- magazine and periodical titles
- newspaper names
- long poems
- paintings, drawings, sculpture, works of art
- long musical compositions
- TV and radio programs (continuing series)
Items that should be in quotation marks: direct quotes; song titles; short poems; essays; television and radio programs (individual episodes); short story titles; article titles; parts of books (chapters or sections); conference titles.
Italicize names of University publications that come out on a regular basis.
The abbreviation v. is used in legal citations:
Marbury v. Madison
The case names are usually italicized; v. may be either roman or italic, provided use is consistent.
In all other areas the word is usually spelled out, but if it is necessary to abbreviate it (in titles or headlines, for example), use vs. in roman:
Nittany Lions vs. Wolverines