Something I find a little tricky is whether to use italics or quotes for terms. In most cases, the terms I cite are not used repeatedly, but are one-time mentions.

So, for example, we have the following sentence:

The crest or kamon of the Tokugawa clan was the Aoi ("hollyhock").

So, here we have a couple of different terms that I have italicized, but then put the translation in quotes. Alternatively, I guess I could have used quotes, then put 'hollyhock' in single quotes. In that case, it would read like this:

The crest or "kamon" of the Tokugawa clan was the "Aoi" ('hollyhock').

It starts to get confusing when I have a sentence with a lot of different terms and translations in it. Is there a general set of rules or policies that are advisable in such cases?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Jason Bassford, JJJ, jimm101, choster, K J Jul 14 at 15:45

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I prefer the first sentence using italicization. I think that's also the convention in the Chicago Manual and APA style. – Boondoggle Jul 5 at 5:07
  • If you are using italics, there is no reason to also use quotation marks. The difference between italics in one place and roman text in the other is sufficient. And I prefer italics in general. In other words, I like your first version better; however, I would remove the quotation marks from the word in parentheses. – Jason Bassford Jul 5 at 10:06
  • The crest or kamon of the Tokugawa clan was the Aoi (hollyhock). – Jason Bassford Jul 5 at 10:07
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    There is no single agreed-upon set of rules for formatting, typography, punctuation; these are matters of style. You should therefore adhere to the discipline of your editor, publication, or organization, or in the absence of a house style, adopt a style manual appropriate to your audience and tastes and be consistent in its application. – choster Jul 12 at 18:45

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