Couldn't find much on this particular stylistic method, but I was wondering: how would one emphasize only part of a word in an informal novel-like case?

"It wasn't new in any way—just newer."

"It wasn't new in any way—just new-er."

I understand that this is likely to be a stylistic choice, but is simply italicizing the "-er" in "newer" and hoping the reader is able to differentiate it as the emphasis good enough? Or is using a hyphen more or less necessary in this case?

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    It's a judgement call: new-er looks outlandish, but the itliicisation in new_er_ (I can't even reproduce it here) in some fonts may be missed. If picked up on, I'd say that the stress is easily deducible. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 3 '15 at 21:48
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    MAHvellous, DAHling! No fonts necessary – Oldcat Jun 3 '15 at 21:51
  • @Oldcat I'd thought of that, but it just seems so unprofessional that I crossed it off the board before I even wrote it down. – Michel Jun 3 '15 at 21:57
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    If you get paid for it, its professional! – Oldcat Jun 3 '15 at 22:22
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    It's entirely a judgment call, based on the typesetting facilities available to you, and the importance you place on having your reader notice the emphasis. Safest is probably to upper-case the emphasized letters. – Hot Licks Jun 3 '15 at 22:52

Your solution would be new-er because when you just say "newer" it does not emphasize the independent clause from the dependent clause. However, removing that first bit of text from the front would allow for both of the phrases to work.

Basically new-er allows for more emphasizing. I hope that solves your problem :)

| improve this answer | |
  • That's what I'm saying. The word was newer, and if you look closely, you can see the "-er" is italicized. But if it's going to go over most peoples' heads, then I'm going to use a hyphen. – Michel Jun 3 '15 at 22:20
  • @Michel You'll doubtless be flailed by several sticklers. But the other 841 million English speakers will still be happy with you. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 4 '15 at 9:13

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