How to Use Italics in Essays


It is important to know how and when to use the appropriate punctuation and techniques while writing an essay. Sometimes knowing when and how to use italics can be a little confusing. Once you know the correct way to use italics in essay writing, it will be easy to keep that information with you for all future writing projects. Italicizing is the same for all writing styles, including American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), Turabian and Chicago.

To Add Emphasis

  • Type out a sentence. Not all sentences require italicized words; however, adding italics to a word can add emphasis to that word and really make a point.

  • Choose the word or words that you would like to add emphasis to by highlighting them.

  • Italicize the word or words that you would like to add emphasis to, by choosing the "italics" option while the words are already highlighted.

Books, Television Shows, Short Stories, Movies, etc.

  • Type out the name of the book, television show, short story or movie in your essay. It is appropriate to use these types of items in an essay if it fits the given topic.

  • Highlight the title with your cursor and choose the "italics" option.

  • Include punctuation in the italics if the punctuation is a part of the title. For example, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" would all be italicized including the question mark.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not use italics in place of quotation marks.
  • Do not use italics in place of underlining, unless you are hand-writing the essay.


  • Photo Credit Jetta Productions/Lifesize/Getty Images
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