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  1. #1
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    italics writing style

    I found this half word italics style in an old book (The Catcher in the Rye) I am reading:
    "He didn't want you to think he was visiting you or anything. He wanted you to think he'd come in by mistake, for God's sake."[...]
    "Nobody won."[...]
    "On the subway, for Chrissake!"

    Some words are half italicized, I guess for syllabic stress.

    I am wondering whether this style would still be in use nowadays.
    Have you seen it anywhere else?
    Do you use it?


    PS Feel free to point out any mistakes in my posts

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: italics writing style

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    I found this half word italics style in an old book (The Catcher in the Rye) I am reading:
    "He didn't want you to think he was visiting you or anything. He wanted you to think he'd come in by mistake, for God's sake."[...]
    "Nobody won."[...]
    "On the subway, for Chrissake!"

    Some words are half italicized, I guess for syllabic stress.

    I am wondering whether this style would still be in use nowadays.
    Have you seen it anywhere else?
    Do you use it?


    PS Feel free to point out any mistakes in my posts
    I do use it, but only for whole words. You're right, it's to stress the syllable to give the reader some idea of the cadence of the speaker. It's legitimate in novels for that purpose. You can use italics in formal academic essays to stress words, as long as you don't overdo it. In fact, that is the correct way to do it. But too many stressed words could make your professor think you've gone hysterical for some reason.

    PS: Also note how a whole post is converted into italics when it's quoted. I'm not really sure of the reason for that, since it destroys your message.

  3. #3
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline VIP Member
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    Re: italics writing style

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I do use it, but only for whole words. You're right, it's to stress the syllable to give the reader some idea of the cadence of the speaker. It's legitimate in novels for that purpose. You can use italics in formal academic essays to stress words, as long as you don't overdo it. In fact, that is the correct way to do it. But too many stressed words could make your professor think you've gone hysterical for some reason.

    PS: Also note how a whole post is converted into italics when it's quoted. I'm not really sure of the reason for that, since it destroys your message.
    Italics are generally seen as markers of otherness or alterity. Someone else's words, or some other voice. By extension, sometimes, some other type of tone.

  4. #4
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Re: italics writing style

    Thanks Raymott and konungursvia.

    The main reason I asked this question here is related to stressing only part of the words, lets say only some syllables.
    Although Ive been recently reading a certaing variety of written English styles, I had never come accross with this one before.

    I wonder if other members have already seen it, or have ever themselves used it.

  5. #5
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline VIP Member
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    Re: italics writing style

    It's an antique style, commonly seen in English in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. Just read Henry Fielding, Thomas Paine, John Locke, or Ben Franklin and you'll see tons of italics.

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    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Re: italics writing style

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Just read Henry Fielding, Thomas Paine, John Locke, or Ben Franklin and you'll see tons of italics.
    Do you mean tons of half-word italics?

  7. #7
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Re: italics writing style

    Oh, right, no, not usually half-word italics, but you have to recognize that English is inflected with the least obvious or most pertinent syllable stronger than the others, so while Salinger is dancing to the beat of his own drum, extending a tradition to new ground, it's well within the natural scope of English to do that.

    Here's a Donne essay as an example:
    http://www.luminarium.org/renascence...ns/donne2.html

    Edit: having said that, I think it would have been the norm to emphasize syllables, if only that was feasible with classical type-setting, which it would not have been.

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