Italics are used for drawing attention to words or phrases, for instance in order to provide an example.

Small_OK Only use etc. at the end of a series of examples and never at the end of a series introduced by the words like or such as.

However, we generally recommend avoiding their use for emphasis: clear, emphatic writing ought not to require this device as an additional support. Other than illustrating examples, we suggest limiting their use to the following cases.

  • Italics in the titles of books, journals and other publications

    Unless following specific editorial guides, write the titles of books, journals and other published materials in italics, to distinguish the titles from the rest of the sentence.

    Small_OK Recent research into the applications of microbial cyanobacteria on oil pollution has been published in the latest edition of the prestigious journal Science Today.

    Be aware, however, that conventions for indicating the title of a book, journal or article may vary depending on factors such as publication requirements or even academic ambit. You will therefore have to bear these factors in mind, depending on the purpose of your text and where it will be published.

  • Italics in foreign words and expressions

    Italicise foreign words or expressions that are not common in English (that is, words not included in a reliable English dictionary) and that may therefore not be readily understood.

    Small_OK The ceiling of the Faculty’s Aula Magna offers visitors a beautiful example of Catalan Modernisme.

    This includes the Latin terms for academic distinction, cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude (meaning “with honour”, “with great honour” and “with highest honour”, respectively), which should always be italicised.

    But note that foreign words that have now become part of normal English usage do not require italics.

    addendum ad hoc attaché avant-garde
    communiqué status quo vice versa zeitgeist

    Note also that, in the event of using a non-English form for the official name of an organisation (universities, companies, governmental bodies, etc.) these names are not written in italics.

    Small_OK The University is currently involved in discussions with the Red Española de Supercomputación (Spanish Supercomputing Network).

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