Italics work well to emphasize a word or phrase within larger writing. Some writers, thinking they need to emphasize anything of importance, over-italicize. The result does not match the intention: readers treat all the italicized text as equal and will be left without a sense of what is important and what isn’t. Trust the reader to see importance in good writing, and emphasize key points through structural decisions rather than physical modifications.

Italicize uncommon foreign words and consult your favorite dictionary when uncertain which words deserves italics and which don’t. Dictionaries seem to increasingly lean toward removing italics—Latin phrases, popular German, and many French terms remain unaltered in the more recent editions of major dictionaries.

For titles and proper names, italicize the following:
-Books, Plays, Epic poems
-Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Websites
-Court cases
-Films, Television shows, Video games
-Musicals, Operas, Song cycles, Symphonies, Albums, Radio shows
-Paintings and Sculpture
-Scientific names
-Ship, Train, Aircraft, Spacecraft names

Do not italicize traditional games like Chess or Texas Hold ‘em, software, legal and constitutional documents, and consumer products. For rules on quotations, see quotes.