In which cases is a word, or a group of words written in italics?
Is italics used in specific contexts, or it is quite normal to write words in italics?
The Wikipedia page on Italic type gives a pretty good overview, along with some examples.
(See also this About.com page, though it says very similar things to the Wiki page.)
Hope that helps.
Off the top of my head, italics are used for:
In the first and second case, you could just as well enclose the word(s) in quotes (without using italics). The third one seems to be set in stone.
The other answers have many good examples of when to use italics, but I wanted to emphasize that on this site in particular I most frequently use italics to clarify the use–mention distinction—that is, to mention a word rather than use it. Of course, in the previous sentence I used italics to emphasize and not for the use–mention distinction. Quotation marks are also frequently used to clarify the use–mention distinction, but I tend to reserve them for mentioning multi-word phrases and use italics for single words.
protected by tchrist Oct 29 at 2:56
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