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.

Academic publications

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 foreign words

Although italics are used for sic, other Latin scholarly words and commonly used foreign words are set in Roman (for example, ibid., in situ, et al., ennui). Foreign words not common in English usage are italicized. Consult Webster's Tenth. 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.

Poetry

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..

Technical terms

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:

book titles
brochures and pamphlets
movie titles
magazine and periodical titles
newspaper names
long poems
plays
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.

In names of newspapers and magazines, the is in Roman type and lowercased, no matter how the newspaper refers to itself within its own pages.

  • I read the Scranton Times-Tribune and the Wood Word.

University publications

Italicize names of University publications that come out on a regular basis.

  • The next issue of Impressions will explore the new academic programs in greater detail.

Versus

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:

  • The Marywood University Pacers vs. the University of Scranton Royals.