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1. Use italics (underlining) for the titles and subtitles of books, plays, long poems, periodicals, works of art, films, radio and television series, long musical works and recordings, videos, video and computer games, and comic strips.

Italics are printed letters that slant to the right. If you are not using a computer, you can show italicized words by underlining them:
I read The Cave this summer.

  • Cry, the Beloved Country [book] 
  • Smithsonian [magazine] 
  • Mona Lisa [painting]



Italicize the articles a, an, and the in the title of a periodical (something published at regular intervals, like a magazine or a newspaper) only if the article is part of the official title. Check the title page, front page, or table of contents of a periodical to find the official title.

  • The article appeared in The New York Times, but it was not in the USA Today that I bought. [The is part of the official title of The New York Times, so it is italicized. USA Today does not have the in its official title, so the is not italicized.]

2. Use italics (underlining) for the names of trains, ships, aircraft, and spacecraft.

  • Orient Express [train] 
  • Lusitania [ship] 
  • The Flyer [aircraft] 
  • Discovery [spacecraft]

3. Use italics (underlining) for words, letters, symbols, and numerals referred to as such, and for foreign words that have not been adopted into English.

  • Aunt Cora uses the word pince-nez to describe her oddly shaped eyeglasses. [Pince-nez is italicized because the writer is calling attention to it as a word. If the writer did not want to call attention to pince-nez as a word, the sentence would not contain italics: Aunt Cora asked for her pince-nez.] 
  • I stamped the box with an E for express mail. [The letter E is italicized because it is referred to as a letter.] 
  • The typewriter’s 6 key doesn’t seem to work. [The number 6 is italicized because it is referred to as a number.] 
  • The hotel clerk in Montreal answered the phone with a cheerful bonjour. [Bonjour is italicized because it is a foreign word that has not been adopted into English.]
Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎


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