Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Possible Duplicate:
What is the best way to mention a word: italics, quotes, or single-quotes (apostrophes)?

What is the better way to typeset terms referring to ideas and concepts, italics or quote marks?

Examples (with quote marks):

  1. Peter termed this principle the "first law of success".
  2. The idea refers to the notion of "open source".
share|improve this question
    
I prefer italics because quotation marks seem too distracting. But that's a judgment that has to be made based on what the piece looks like in print. How often do they appear? Are they too conspicuous? Etc. However, this isn't an English usage question but a printing question. It's not our line. Ask a designer or an art critic, not a grammarian. –  user21497 Oct 31 '12 at 10:33
    
add comment

marked as duplicate by tchrist, Kris, Matt Эллен, Andrew Leach, Robusto Oct 31 '12 at 12:16

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

1 Answer

There is no universal preference: you probably have to weigh the formatting in context.

Some relevant discussion:

Use–mention distinction (Wikipedia):

Although the standard notation for mentioning a term in philosophy and logic is to put the term in quotation marks, issues arise when the mention is itself of a mention. Notating using italics might require a potentially infinite number of typefaces, while putting quotation marks within quotation marks may lead to ambiguity.

Quotation (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy):

[...] quotation is not invariably indicated by the use of quotation marks. Sometimes, for example, italicization is used instead, as in:

Bachelor has eight letters

Other devices employed as substitutes for quotation marks include bold face, indentation, and line indentation.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.