How to use Italics and Quotation Marks

Learn how to use italics and quotation marks, correctly and effectively, to polish your work – a “must do” activity once you have finished with your creative piece. This article hopes to empower you with guidelines that will not only help you write with clarity but will bring flair to your writing.

Use Italics and quotation marks to emphasise words or ideas. There may be a fine line that separates the two, yet both have their specific uses.

When to use Italics

  • For Titles

    Italics are used for titles of newspapers, books, movies, plays, work of art – titles that can stand on their own. You do not use them for articles of magazine, songs in an album or for episodes of a TV serial.

  • For Feelings

    Sometimes italics help to express strong feelings in a sentence. “I love eating mangoes”  expresses the degree of your love for the fruit.

  • Animal Sounds and Names of Vehicles

    Italicise animal sounds in your story and do the same for names given to vehicles (this rule does not apply for brand names of vehicles).  While you may italicise The Elizabeth you may not do the same with Mercedes.

  • Foreign words or scientific words

    Italics are used for foreign words that you introduce in your article- words like modus operandi, joie de vivre, bon voyage, c’est la vie, firangi. Similarly, a scientific word used for the first time in your article should be in italics.

Look here for further explanation and examples on how to use italics.

Italics and Quotation Marks
             Italics and Quotation Marks

When to use Quotations

  • For Titles that cannot Standalone

    Quotation marks are also used to emphasise titles but these are titles that do not stand alone. TV episodes, articles in a magazine, chapters of a book, song from an album are placed in quotation marks.

  • In Dialogues or Direct Speech

    The most popular use of quotation marks is for direct speech or in dialogues. This punctuation marks is also used to introduce a phrase or a part of a speech.

  • Using a Different Word

    You can use quotation marks when you want to use another word in place of a regular word. For instance – If you have “friends” like these, why would you need enemies?

Click here for more on how to use quotation marks.

Once you understand the basics of how to use italics and quotation marks, you will be able to do so with ease.




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