Placing words in italics indicates the language has been singled out for a specific reason. Do not italicize for emphasis, though; instead, choose strong words. Follow the rules below to use italics appropriately.

  1. Use italics for the titles of books, magazines, journals, newspapers, and pamphlets.
    • Did you read John Grisham's The Rainmaker?
      • Exceptions: The Bible, the Koran, and legal documents are generally not placed in italics.
  2. Use italics for the titles of movies, videos, plays, television and radio programs, operas, long poems, long musical works, works of art, and published speeches.
    • Saving Private Ryan was a popular 1998 movie.
    • Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is one of the most moving speeches of all time.
    • The Mona Lisa hangs in the Louvre in Paris.
  3. Use italics for the names of ships, trains, aircraft, and spacecraft.
    • The aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise is one of the largest ships afloat.
  4. Use italics for scientific names, foreign words and phrases, and the names of legal cases.
    • Semper fidelis
    • Robertson v. Dallas
      • The "v." in legal cases (Latin for versus or against) appears in regular font style in a legal citation.
  5. Use italics for words being defined or words, letters, or numbers being named as words or used as examples.
    • The letters ch can be pronounced like sh, as in the word chic.
    • Jones (2016) defined user experience as building visually appealing materials that are user friendly.
  6. Use italics for letters in statistical symbols.
    • Traditional graduate students had higher anxiety scores (M = 37.49, SD = 6.01) than online graduate students (M = 36.88, SD = 6.76), however this difference was not significant, t (211) = .693, p = .489.
  7. Use italics for anchors of a scale.
    • Participants rated their agreement or disagreement using a Likert scale from 1 (not at all true) to 5 (very true).