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italics: peripheral matter

Follow the guidelines below in using italics for various kinds of peripheral matter.

Prefaces, etc.

Italics may be used to set off peripheral matter such as prefaces and dedications or epigraphs and quotations at the beginning of a book or chapter.

  • To my husband and children, for their patience and unfailing support
  • “There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood” —Bliss Carman

Stage directions

Stage directions for a play are usually set in italics and placed within brackets or parentheses. Introductory matter setting the scene is also usually in italics, but not in brackets or parentheses.

  • SCENE II. Capulet’s orchard. Enter ROMEO.


    He jests at scars that never felt a wound.
    [Juliet appears above at a window]
    But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
    It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

Directions to the reader

Italicize the terms See, See under, See also and See also under when they are used in indexes, and the expressions To be continued, Continued on p., Continued from p. and Continued on next page.

Editorial clarifications

Italicize editorial clarifications:

  • [My emphasis]
  • [Translation]
  • Representatives from certain Carribean [sic] countries …

Note that the square brackets around sic are not italicized.