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How to properly use italics and emphasis (term paper or essay)

Source: www.scribendi.com/advice/
There are approximately seven instances when it is appropriate to use italics in academic writing. Italics will likely appear in papers ranging from the arts to the sciences and will serve many functions. To simplify things, we have defined when to use italics in Arts and Humanities papers (four instances) and when to use them in the Sciences (three instances).
In the Arts:
  1. Titles:Adam and I watched an episode of Family Guy yesterday; the whole thing was a parody of The Da Vinci Code!

  2. Emphasis: Susan yelled, "I hate microeconomics!"

  3. Sounds reproduced as words: If a bear growls and you want to present this auditory occurrence in a more immersive way, Grrrrrr! 

  4. Names of vehicles: in your academic writing, whether it's the Titanic or Apollo 13, remember to italicize its name. The exception to this rule is the brand name of vehicles. So, if you're writing a paper that requires commentary concerning the Rolls-Royce that kills Myrtle Wilson in The Great Gatsby, leave the italics off.

In the Sciences
  1. Words in a foreign language:"Three pills are to be administered to the patient ante cibum."

    While most people would not write "before meals" in Latin, this term is appropriate in a medical context and thus must be written in Latin, as well as be italicized.

  2. Introducing a term: When a new term is introduced in a scientific essay, it is common practice to write the word in italics upon first use. When readers see a term in italics, they automatically know this is the first time the word has been used and should therefore pay attention to its meaning.

  3. Physical quantities and mathematical constants: When measures of quantity or a mathematical constant are written, they should be placed in italics. A mathematical constant is the letter used to represent a particular static mathematical standard such as:

    "When we measured the particle velocity, v, recorded in the experiment…"

    The "v" represents the constant in a mathematical equation and thus must be written in italics.

When to  use italics in scientific writing? up to the journal


Source: http://writers.stackexchange.com/ 16.2k

The Style Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2009, pp. 104-106) is very clear on the use of italics. 

Use italics for

  • titles of books, periodicals, films
    exception: italic words in the title (reverse italicization)
  • genera, species, and varietes
    • Scientific names for organisms (in the form: Genus species, or G. species) are italicized, regardless of their linguistic roots. Common names for organisms are not italicized. 
  • introduction of a new technical term
    (after a term has been used once, do not italicize it)
  • a letter, word, or phrase cited as a linguistic example
    ("words such as big and little")
  • words that could be misread
    ("the small group", meaning a designation, not group size)
  • letters used as statistical symbols or algebraic variables
  • some test scores and scales
  • periodical volume numbers in reference lists
  • anchors of scale
    ("health ratings ranged from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent)")

Do not use italics for

  • foreign phrases and abbreviations common in English
  • chemical terms
  • trigonometric terms
  • nonstatistial subscripts to statistical symbols or mathematical expressions
  • Greek letters
  • mere emphasis. (Italics are acceptable if emphasis might otherwise be lost; in general, however, use syntax to provide emphasis.)
    Incorrect:
    it is important to bear in mind that this process is not proposed as a stage theory of developments.
  • letters used as abbreviations

 

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