Okay, complete disclosure: i read, write, and edit for a living. So, ns guess i’m something of a creating geek. And this whole piece is all about one tiny element of writing: namely how best to use typography to display emphasis in a item of text. If the believed of analysis such a topic renders you desire to operation a mile, I suggest you, well, go run a mile. Or at least go read something else.

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However, because that anyone who is still reading, i will point out the my attention in this (as v all writing-related topics) is rooted in my more comprehensive interest in effective communication. That is, i don’t care for writing rules in and of themselves, but I do value anything that helps us connect more plainly with one another.

Why us emphasize part of text

In text-based documents, sometimes there’s a vital word or expression that you yes, really want people to sit up and notice. For this reason what perform we do? We distinguish that indigenous or phrase in some visual manner utilizing typography in stimulate to make it stand the end from the rest of the text approximately it. Simple.

However, once it come to including emphasis to text, many human being seem unsure quite exactly how to carry out it. I frequently see every manner of techniques used. In fact, that not uncommon to see civilization using several different techniques within the exact same document.


How no to add emphasis to her text. (Okay, therefore I consisted of this example, yet it’s really not also dissimilar to files that i come across relatively often.)

Before we look at the various styles that have the right to be supplied to emphasize text, it’s worth pausing and also remembering the there are many other factors that can aid you to connect your point effectively. Because that example, paying attention to sentence structure, order, and also length, and to your selection of words and also punctuation will all greatly help.

Okay, but having claimed all that, there will certainly still it is in times when you execute want to include emphasis come a specific word or phrase within her text. In together cases, what must you do?

Two great techniques

Use italics

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These job italics is the most widely used an approach of including emphasis come text. It is simple, elegant, and also widely understood.

Note: If a entirety passage of message is currently rendered in italics (such together a block quote) then you can emphasize a an essential word or phrase within that by rendering it as typical Roman (i.e. Non-italicized) text.

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Use bold

In English language publishing, italics is the many widely used method for including emphasis. However, making use of bold is a valid alternative, used by some publishers and websites:

Turns the end that cram petrol top top a bonfire is a really negative idea.

So, the guidance yes, really is simple: if you want to emphasize some text, use italics or bold. (But, please, don’t combine the two; there’s really no need.)

In fact, i have noticed the some modern writing applications (including ptcouncil.net) now only market bold and italics as text formatting options. Good on them, ns say!