Formatting punctuation after bold, italic, text (comma, period)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Tremt, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. Tremt Member


    I am trying to search for this online but have only come across inhouse (publication's) style guides, so I would like to ask it here. When italicizing or putting in bold a word or set of words that happen to have a period or comma at the end, should you put in italic/bold the period/sentence/punctuation form? For example:

    1) When driving on a road, you should never exceed the imposed speed. (period in bold)

    2) The name of the book was How to make a surfboard. (period in italic)

    3) This TV show, Family Guy, is already in its 10th season. (only second comma has been put in italic)

    I think that the 3 examples are correct as they are but I am clueless and I am just going with a gut feeling.

    Would very much appreciate any input.

    Thanks! :)
  2. Biffo Senior Member

    English - England
    Well of course an italic period is the same as an ordinary one!

    I believe that the punctuation belongs to the surrounding clause. If there are nested clauses then the punctuation would follow the local emphasis.

    That's my personal opinion.
  3. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 75)
    UK English
    I would avoid using commas and full stops to set off italic or bold words or phrases. In other words, the periods and commas in your examples I would write as normal ones.

    I haven't checked with other versions, but a single italic period differs in Word 2003 from the ordinary period!
  4. Biffo Senior Member

    English - England

    In fact it turns out that this depends on the font. I've just tried it. Here is palatino linotype​ and, sure enough there is a difference.

  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I'm sorry, Trent, I'm not sure I really understand your question - or why the issue is important:(.

    But here's my reaction, anyway: if you're bolding something that includes a full stop, then bold the full stop too.

    If you're bolding something that doesn't include a full stop, but that you want to follow by a full stop, then don't bold the full stop.

    All that said, I don't think anyone will notice, either way.

    (I may have misunderstood your question:eek:.)
  6. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, I think, as Loob suggested, some people might not think this is an important issue (because usually you can't usually see whether a full stop is italicised), but I think I know what you're trying to say. I would treat the issue in the same way that we treat the issue of whether punctuation should be placed inside quotation marks or outside. If you imagine your bold bits as being quoted bits, I would write:

    (1) When driving on a road, you should 'never exceed the imposed speed'.
    (2) The name of the book was 'How to make a surfboard'.
    (3) This TV show, 'Family Guy', is already in its 10th season.

    As you can see, the punctuation goes outside for me (because I think that looks more logical). For this reason, I wouldn't set it in bold or italics (if I was being very careful).

    This might also mean that AmE speakers might do it differently because they would tend to put punctuation inside quotation marks. We'll need to wait for American reactions.
  7. Tremt Member

    Thanks you all! :)

    I could only get hold of style guides of different publications (e.g. a couple of magazines or journals) and they all differed, hence deciding to ask this question here.

    Would it be thus correct to assume that one can put periods and other punctuation marks in italic/bold when the punctuation marks follow straight after the part which has been put in italic/bold? As in, so logn as one is consistent in what he chooses, it would not matter where the punctuation marks are put in italic/bold or not?
  8. Tremt Member

    Thanks! you did understand my question correctly (although you got my username wrong :D). Makes sense what you say and from the other replies it perhaps differs between BrE and AmE then?
  9. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 75)
    UK English
    From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition:

    "All punctuation marks should appear in the same font--roman or italic--as the main or surrounding text."

    It gives as an example: Smith played the title role in Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear; after his final performance.... he announced his retirement.
    In this sentence the commas and semi-colon are not in italics. The word and is also not italic.

    "According to a more traditional system, periods, commas, colons and semicolons should appear in the same font as the word, letter, character, or symbol immediately preceding them if different from that of the main or surrounding text."
    In the above example, the commas and semi-colon are in italics.

    So there are two methods: one traditional and one more recent (as far as the Chicago Manual is concerned).
  10. Sparky Malarky

    Sparky Malarky Moderator

    English - US
    This is not a grammar question, this is a style question. Style guides can differ! If you are told to follow a particular style guide, find out what it says and follow that. If you don't have a style guide, pick one and be consistent. In many fonts it is all but impossible to see the difference, but if you are working in a place where it's important to get it right, you probably have a style guide to follow.

    As for whether the punctuation goes inside or outside quotations, Americans follow exactly the same rules British English uses except that for us the period (which British call 'full stop') and the comma always go inside the quotation marks. This is not logical, but that's the way we do it.
  11. Tremt Member

    Just logged back and saw your other replies. Thank you all! This is why I love this forum, intelligent and constructive discussion.

    I will be sure to stick to my own style guide then. We don't have to follow any style set, so I will pick one and be consistent with it (which is what matters with style, as it seems).


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