4 Rules You Must Know About Italics In Spanish

The use of italic writing follows the guidelines of media stylebooks. However, there are some basic and easy rules you should learn to apply italics correctly.

Cursive or italic writing is the type of writing in slopping letters. Whether or not to write in italics will depend on the stylebook of each media company, but it is better to know what the rules say about its use.

Italics are used to indicate that a word, or a group of words, has a special meaning within the sentence.

Today iScribo brings you a series of easy rules so that you can use italics without any problem.

1. Figurative Uses

We must write in italics certain words or expressions whose value is figurative. In other words, they have a metaphorical meaning that would not normally be used with that word.

Se quedó entre los finalistas en la entrevista.

(He/she was among the finalists in the interview.)

2. Foreign Words

Words that do not belong to Spanish but that we use anyway are written in italics.

In many cases, these words have a graphic adaptation into Spanish that very often corresponds to the pronunciation of the word.

For example, memorandum is a Latin word that can be written in italics with its Latin spelling or adapted to Spanish, in this case memorándum or memorando.

It should be noted that, although the Latin spelling is correct, whenever we can adapt the word to Spanish, we should do so.

3. Titles of Books, Plays or Films

The titles of books, plays, films, etc. are written in italics, regardless of the language in which they are written.

Here are two examples to help you assimilate it better:

Hace unas semanas se estrenó la precuela de Toy Story.

(A few weeks ago, the prequel to Toy Story was released.)

Cuando viajé a París vi el cuadro de Los girasoles de Van Gogh.

(When I travelled to Paris I saw the painting Sunflowers by Van Gogh.)

4. Nicknames

Nicknames are written in italics when they are placed between first name and second name.

Of course, the rest of the sentence is written in normal letters:

Diego Armando el Pelusa Maradona falleció hace unos años.

(Diego Armando el Pelusa Maradona passed away a few years ago.)

Italics or not italics

Don’t worry if you don’t quite know whether a word is italicised or not. We are fortunate that each stylebook dictates its own rules about italic writing. Our advice is to always follow the rules unless someone tells you otherwise for a specific purpose. You will see that practice will make you learn the rules little by little.

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