When a foreign word is used for the first time in text, it is generally italicized (or put in quotation quotes as an alternative). Is it ever correct to use both italics and quotation marks when the word is both foreign and also identified as a specific word: e.g. Grilled Spam and rice wrapped in nori, or seaweed, is called “omusubi.” Should omusubi be both italicized as a foreign word and in quotes because it is being identified as a specific word?

  • If you need to differentiate from say << used with a type of chili known as 'Scotch bonnet' >> elsewhere in the text, you can indicate specifying (introducing jargon / subject-specific term) and foreign word separately, with both devices. Otherwise, it's overkill. And be aware that some words once (recently!) considered foreign are now in the English lexicon. Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 16:19
  • Related.
    – tchrist
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 1:15

1 Answer 1


Italics or "quotation marks" are normally used to add emphasis to a particular word(s), or to indicate an unusual or uncommon use of the words. A 'foreign' word would, by definition, fall in to this category. You can use both but its a bit like SHOUTING!

Probably best to use either / or. Both only in moderation...

  • Quotation marks are not used for the purpose of emphasising.
    – jsw29
    Commented Sep 28, 2020 at 15:08

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