Use of capitals/italics for emphasis.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by sethmachine, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. sethmachine Banned

    Because English cannot easily change around its word-order to convey new meanings/emphasize on a certain part in a sentence, is it proper to use italics or capitlization to put emphasis on a particular part of a sentence?
    Ex: Well, I certainly do not...
    ex: As for me, I NEVER EVER do X.
    (accompanied by appropriate inotation)
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2008
  2. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    This is more a question of stylistic preferences, and the style sheets that may guide them,
    than of grammar. The rules for capitalization are available in any number of good grammar books, and are similar in AE and BE. Use of italics is highly variable. It has replaced underlining, once a requirement for book titles in AE, now that we have
    computers and computer typesetting.

    Excessive use of capitals, especially writing IN ALL CAPITALS, is generally frowned on
    as "shouting" in the world of chat boards and forums. It is forbidden in this one.

    Is it proper? That's highly subjective. I would rather ask if it is useful and conventional in
    the setting in which I might use it. If it is useful and unconventional, the added impact—or distress—it causes
    may provide even greater emphasis.
  3. the_del_star Senior Member

    Southern California
    USA, English
    In informal, yes... but in formal, or academic writing, it's rare.
  4. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    On italicizing I.

    Recently, in a post, I put an I in italics, intending to indicate: "I am speaking only for myself and not other people".

    Later, I realized that it appeared to mean that I thought that I was the one person who did things correctly, even though other people were wrong. This extremely offensive position is not at all what I meant. I changed it.

    I strongly favor expressing these ideas with words. You can say what you are trying to say more precisely and clearly. It is less likely that you will create an impression you do not intend.
  5. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    A single case in which I advocate use of italics in this forum is to highlight a term or word under discussion. Alternatives are color changes, quotation marks, or capital letters. I find the last option aesthetically offensive.

    We are talking about using italics for emphasis here. :thumbsup:
    We are talking about using "italics" for emphasis here. :thumbsup:
    We are talking about using italics for emphasis here. :tick:
    We are talking about using ITALICS for emphasis here. :( :cross:

    Those are personal preferences. Please do not take them as edicts
    or prescriptivist statements about what is "correct".

    Another option is a change in font. I don't care for that for a
    single word in mid-sentence.

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