Vocabulary - Underline and Italics
He read Oliver Twist and Huckleberry Finn in one week.

Vocabulary - Underline and Italics

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Both underlining and using italics are forms of punctuations to show emphasis in writing. They can be interchanged depending upon what is a writer’s preference. However, there are some basic rules that should be followed. These include:

1. When naming a long title to a written piece of work such as a book, a magazine, a movie, a newspaper, a song, a play or a TV show, you can either italicize or underline the title. For example:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
or
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
or
“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”

2. When using foreign words, the foreign words should always be either underlined or in italics. For example:

The old woman called out, “Bonjour!”
or
The old woman called out, “Bonjour!”

3. Italicize onomatopoeia words (sound words). For example:

I heard the gun go bang, bang.

For each sentence that follows, determine which word or group of words needs to be underlined or italicized or does the sentence need to be left alone.
1.
He played on the swing set for hours.
swing set
swing set
"swing set"
left alone
The words “swing set” are not the title of a book, play, magazine or TV show nor are they foreign words. Therefore, they do not need to be underlined or italicized nor do they need to be emphasized with quotation marks. This sentence, therefore, simply needs to be left alone. Answer (d) is the correct answer for this sentence.
2.
Do you have a copy of People magazine that I can read?
People magazine
People
People
left alone
This sentence will require the writer to show the reader that a specific magazine is being sought. Answers (b) and (d) are the same thing, meaning they both show or state that the sentence should be left alone. However, since a magazine is mentioned, we know that it needs to be written in a way to highlight what it is. Answers (b) and (d) are not correct. Answer (a) would be correct if only “People” was italicized but it also italicized “magazine” so it is not the correct answer. Answer (c) shows the title of the magazine by underlining it. It is the correct way to show the title and it is the correct answer.
3.
Do you remember all of the words to the Star Spangled Banner?
[Star Spangled Banner]
Star Spangled Banner
Star Spangled Banner...
left alone
The words “Star Spangled Banner” is the title of a song and needs to be shown as such to the reader. Therefore Answer (d) is not correct. The title is not missing anything nor has anything been added so the use of brackets is incorrect. Answer (a) is not correct. The use of an ellipsis is to show that a title of a song is longer but is not being fully written out. However, in this case, we have the entire title to the song so an ellipsis is not needed. Answer (c) is not the correct answer. A title of a song can be underlined or italicized or put between quotation marks. Answer (b) shows the title as underlined and is, therefore, the correct answer for this sentence.
4.
He wrote his paper on To Kill a Mocking Bird.
[To Kill a Mocking Bird]
To Kill a Mocking Bird
To Kill a Mocking Bird
Both (b) and (c)
Answer (a) has enclosed the title of a book in brackets. Brackets are not used to show the title of a book but are used to demonstrate something is missing or been added. Therefore, Answer (a) is not correct. As the title of a book is being given, the writer is required to present the title to the reader correctly. When writing a title to a book that title must either be underlined or italicized, depending on the writer’s preference. Therefore, Answer (d) is correct.
5.
Jill just came back from seeing Twilight.
Twilight
Twilight
"Twilight"
all of the above
From this sentence we can tell that Jill went to see a movie. Movie titles must be written in a way that the reader can easily tell what it is. To show the reader that “Twilight” is a movie it can be written either by underlining it, italicizing it or putting quotation marks around it. Therefore, Answers (a), (b) and (c) are all correct answers.
6.
We sang Row, Row, Row Your Boat so many times I wanted to scream.
[Row, Row, Row Your Boat]
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
left alone
In this sentence a song title is being given. This lets us know that the writer needs to show what the song title is by writing it appropriately. Answer (d) is not correct as this sentence should not be left alone. Answer (a) uses brackets. Brackets are used to show when something is either missing or added to an original text. Nothing has been added or is missing in this sentence so Answer (a) is not correct. Answer (b) shows only part of the title as underlined. To be correct, the entire title would need to be underlined; therefore, Answer (b) is not correct. A correct way to write out a title of a song is to italicize it. This makes Answer (c) the correct answer.
7.
My grandmother makes the best Boston Cream Pie!
Boston Cream Pie
Boston Cream Pie
(Boston Cream Pie)
left alone
The words “Boston Cream Pie” are defining a proper name for a thing (noun). Because it is a proper name it needs to be capitalized but it does not need to be italicized or underlined. Therefore, Answers (a) and (b) are not correct. Answer (c) is not correct because words in parentheses give the reader added information that is separate from a complete sentence. “My grandmother makes the best,” is not a complete sentence making Answer (c) not the correct answer. This sentence is a simple sentence and, therefore, needs to be left alone. Answer (d) is the correct answer for this sentence.
8.
He read Oliver Twist and Huckleberry Finn in one week.
Oliver Twist / Huckleberry Finn
Oliver Twist / Huckleberry Finn
Oliver Twist / Huckleberry Finn
left alone
As we have the title to two books here, the writer needs to correctly show this by using the correct characters or marking. Answer (d) is, therefore, not correct as the sentence cannot be left alone. Titles to books can either be underlined or italicized, however, when writing titles the writer needs to be consistent in the method used. Therefore, Answers (b) and (c) are incorrect because they are inconsistent. Answer (a) is consistent and is the correct answer.
9.
My favorite Beatles’ song is Yesterday.
Yesterday
Beatles'
Beatles'
left alone
The “Beatles” is a musical group so this word is a proper noun. Proper nouns do not need to be italicized or underlined. Answers (b) and (c) are, therefore, incorrect. The word “Yesterday” is the name of a song and needs to be written in a way that a reader can easily understand this. It should not be left alone as it is so Answer (d) is not correct. Answer (a) shows it italicized and is the correct answer.
10.
My most favorite holiday is Christmas!
"Christmas"
Christmas
Christmas
left alone
The word “Christmas” is a proper name for a thing (noun). Because it is a proper name it needs to be capitalized but it does not need to be italicized or underlined. Therefore, Answers (b) and (c) are not correct. Answer (a) is not correct because the word is not being quoted or given greater attention. This sentence is a simple sentence and simply needs to be left alone. Answer (d) is the correct answer for this sentence.
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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