How to “italicize” a word in an italic context?

If you want to emphasize a word in a roman text, but don’t want the effect last long in the readers, you make it italic.

In an already italic paragraph, how do you make the same emphatic effect to italic?

Some considerations:

  • Bold italic: too heavy due to its boldness
  • Roman: I find a roman text inside an italic sentence is harder to notice and doesn’t convey the same psychological effect as an italic text inside a roman sentence.

I think this is related to psychology in typography, so any help with the topic is much appreciated.

Here are when each type of emphasis fits, in my experience:

  • Bold: introducing definitions or making comparisons, where the emphasis effects shouldn’t be fleeting.
  • Italic: nuances emphasis, where the word in emphasis naturally embeds in the reading flow.
  • Underline: sentence breakdown, where in one case nearby words form one group, while in another case nearby words form different groups
  • Quote: wording choice, which can be a a new term just being coined, or a sarcasm


Don’t underline in print. Underlining is a manuscript convention to tell the future typesetter “italicize this.” On the web it means a link.

To your main point: when you have a chunk of copy which is italicized, and you need to emphasize one word, the general technique in fiction is to make it roman (non-italic), because that’s the “opposite” of italic.

In non-fiction, I might make it bold italic, because your italics have a meaning on top of formatting emphasis.

[I’m trying to create examples and our board CSS is resisting my formatting for some reason.]

Source : Link , Question Author : Ooker , Answer Author : Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum

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