From Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary. © 1984 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
This section discusses and illustrates the basic conventions of American Italicization.
Use italics to:
- Indicate titles of books, plays, and epic poems: War and Peace, The Importance of Being Earnest, Paradise Lost.
- Indicate titles of magazines and newspapers: New York magazine, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News.
- Set off the titles of motion pictures and radio and television programs: Star Wars, All Things Considered, Masterpiece Theater.
- Indicate titles of major musical compositions: Handel's Messiah, Adam's Giselle.
- Set off the names of paintings and sculpture: Mona Lisa, Pietà.
- Indicate words, letters, or numbers that are referred to: The word hiss is onomatopoeic. Can't means won't in your lexicon. You form your n's like u's. A 6 looks like an inverted 9.
- Indicate foreign words and phrases not yet assimilated into English: C'est la vie was the response to my complaint.
- Indicate the names of plaintiff and defendant in legal citations: Roe v. Doe.
- Emphasize a word or phrase: When you appear on the national news, you are somebody. Use this device sparingly.
- Distinguish New Latin names of genera, species, subspecies, and varieties in botanical and zoological nomenclature: Homo sapiens.
- Set off the names of ships and aircraft: U.S.S. Arizona, Spirit of St. Louis.