Italic type slopes to the right, like this.

As opposed to these words which are in bold.

These words are in “regular”.

If you pick a typeface or font, say Arial which looks like this, you can choose to have it in four styles:

Arial Regular, Arial Italic, Arial Bold or Arial Bold Italic.


Name of a book Title of a chapter in a book
Name of a newspaper Title of an article, column or section in the paper
Name of a song or album Name of a band
Name of a play Name of a character in a play
Name of a movie Name of a movie production company
Name of a musical, an opera or a CD Name of an individual song, or name of a band
Name of a poem  The whole poem, or a part of the poem
Name of a painting or any work of art Name of artist, sculptor, photographer
Name of an exhibition Name of an art gallery or an organising company
—– Name of a radio program
Name of a television show On-screen person from a TV show
Yes, I know it makes no sense to differentiate between radio and TV, but while radio stations give names to shows like “Terry Willesee Across Sydney” or “The John Laws Morning Show”, these radio shows are only ever referred to as “Terry Willesee” or “John Laws”…maybe that’s the reason for the seeming discrimination.
Name of a breedline Name of a pet, name of a breed
Name of an individual ship But not the HMAS or MV in front of the name.  And don’t put in italics the type of ship such as schooner, or a brand name such as CruiseCraft.
——— Brand names, company names, product names
Name of an individual aeroplane Aeroplane’s call-sign, type or brand name
Name of an individual vehicle (if it has one) Car’s type, model number or brand name
Scientific name of a plant or animal Common name of a plant or animals
Words requiring special emphasis to a reader ——-
Foreign words and phrases ——-


Yes, it’s hard to remember all these rules because they vary from publication to publication.  Often it depends on the sub-editor subbing your article.

If you’re wondering whether to put something in italics, err on the side of putting in italics.  The sub-editor can always change it.  But you’ll be seen to have been trying.

Whatever you do, don’t underline (or underscore) like this.

Or worse, underscore AND make in bold like this.

It looks awful and you don’t see underscoring in mainstream publications.

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