Writing Tips has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.
For the most up-to-date content, please consult Writing Tips Plus, which combines content from Writing Tips and The Canadian Style. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks!
Follow the guidelines below for the use of italics in mathematical, statistical and scientific contexts.
Italicize the scientific (Latin) names of genera and species in botanical, zoological and paleontological matter:
Do not italicize the names of the larger subdivisions (phyla, classes, orders, families and tribes):
Italicize letters designating unknown quantities and constants, lines, etc., in algebraic, geometric and similar matter:
Note in the second example that no space is left between the numerical coefficients and the variables, and that the italics help to differentiate between the variable x and the multiplication sign. Correct spacing and italic type also help to distinguish between algebraic variables and SI/metric symbols:
Italicize quantity symbols such as l for length, m for mass and v for velocity in order to distinguish them from unit symbols such as "L" for litre, "m" for metre and "V" for volt, which are normally printed in roman type:
(N = newton, m = mass, and m = metre)
Italicize Latin prefixes and Greek and Roman letters used as prefixes to the names of chemical and biochemical compounds:
A number of Greek and Roman letters used in statistical formulas and notations are italicized:
© Public Services and Procurement Canada, 2023
TERMIUM Plus^{®}, the Government of Canada's terminology and linguistic data bank
Writing tools – Writing Tips
A product of the Translation Bureau