Italics and Ellipses
When writing, there are several things that need to be either italicized if typing, or underlined if writing. Here is a list of things that need to be italicized: Books, Long poems, Speeches, Movies, TV shows, Plays, Long musical pieces, Magazines, Names of space shuttles, Names of planes, as well as Names of ships. Italicizing/Underlining can also be used for emphasis. For example, “That was mine!” The use of italicizing helps stress that the item was the speaker’s possession. Italicizing/Underlining can also be used to talk about a word. For example, “I don’t like saying you when arguing, it makes people defensive.” Also, whenever a foreign word shows up, it is best to italicize/underline to help point out that word. “Everything is fantastico brother.” Ellipses are three dots that are used to show that words are missing. This is often used to shorten a quote to fit into a paper. It is important to remember that when using ellipses in a quote, you must make sure that you are not changing the original meaning of the quote.
Italics sets apart a word or phrase from surrounding words. It distinguishes a word or phrase. It’s used for book titles, foreign words, names of vehicles, emphasis, and for words of words. It’s used for words only, not for punctuation. If you have a phrase or a name of something in italics that is at the end of the sentence, the words get italicized, but the period or exclamation point or question mark at the end of the sentence does not get italicized.
Let’s look at some examples to see how italics can distinguish a word in a sentence and set it apart from the rest of the sentence, so that you really focus on that one word. “I loved Black Beauty when I was 11″. Black Beauty is the title of a book. It sets it apart. You know that’s what the title is, because it’s in italics and the rest of the sentence isn’t. You can easily distinguish what the title is from what else I wrote.
“I just got a feeling of deja vu.” That feeling that something’s happening that’s already happened before. Deja vu is a foreign word, or foreign phrase, so it is put in italics to set it apart from the rest of the sentence. The Titanic is a name of a vehicle. This could be cars, it could be ships, it could be planes, or any vehicle. The name of it is going to get italicized. So, Titanic is italicized. “He ate not two, but ten slices of pizza.” “Ten” being italicized gives emphasis to the word. You notice how when I read it, I emphasized the word “ten”. “He ate not two, but ten slices of pizza.” You’re emphasizing just how great the number of slices of pizza was that he ate.
Lastly, italics can be used to set off words of words. “I love the word italics.” Whenever you’re saying, “Let’s look at the word italics,” or whenever writing the words through and threw (T H R O U G H and T H R E W), you would want to make sure you were using them correctly in the sentence. Whenever you’re talking about a word and you say the word, or “look at this word”, then you want to italicize the word you’re talking about. These will be English words, because you are already italicizing foreign words. It’s English words that are words of words. That’s what that means. When you see italics, pay special attention to them. See why those words are being italicized. Is it a book title, a foreign word, the name of a vehicle, is the author trying to emphasize something specific, are they just pointing out a specific word that they like, or are wanting you to pay attention to a certain word that they’re discussing?
Next, we’re going to talk about ellipses, which are 3 dots (…) used in formal writing to show that words are missing. A lot of times this is used to leave out part of a long quote, but if you’re doing that when you’re writing, if you’re leaving out part of a long quote, be sure not to change the meaning if you leave out too much of the quote, or you leave out an important part, then the meaning is not preserved. You want to make sure that you’re preserving the meaning of a quote or the meaning of a passage whenever you are inserting an ellipsis. Let’s look at this example.
This is a quote from Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. “I cannot help it. Reason has nothing to do with it. I love her against reason.” That’s a longer quote, and if you’re trying to make it fit in your paper, and your paper can only be 500 words, then you could insert an ellipsis. Ellipsis is singular, and ellipses is plural. If we insert an ellipsis, you could just say “I cannot help it…I love her against reason.”
Saying “reason has nothing to do with it” is kind of repetitive, because you’re already saying “I love her against reason. I can’t help it.” Putting the ellipsis here takes the place of this phrase. It lets the reader know that there were more words here in this quote, but you took them out, because they didn’t affect the meaning. You still get the gist of what the quote was about without having extra words in there. You cut out seven words with just three little dots. It can be very handy when using quotes in a paper. When you’re reading, pay attention to what words are italicized.
See what the author is trying to tell you with those italics. Pay attention to ellipses. What was left out? Make sure that if you are using ellipses in your paper, you do not take away the meaning of the quote.