(I am not quite sure if this qualify as a valid Question)

Italic words are often used in midst of running upright text, either for emphasis or other purpose, such as for foreign languages. According to Robert Bringhurst, the italic punctuations shall be used following italic text, since they give better fit. (page 60 or The Element). This is quite sensible, however, there is one situation that I am not sure about,

Say the italic text is preceded (or followed) by a left (or right) quotation mark, either single or double, shall it be also in italic? I think there a few practice, all have some merits of sense

  1. They shall be from the upright font, i.e., treat them like delimiters, if surrounding (outside the quotations) are upright.
  2. Always use italic quotation marks, since they give better fit (however, in LaTeX this may be less of an advantage given the automatic handling of italic corrections by \emph etc). This means that it is possible that an upright left quotation mark is paired with an italic right mark, and vice versa
  3. If the whole quotation is in italic, from the left quotation mark to the right one, then both quotation marks are in italic, otherwise (that is, either the left quotation marks is followed by upright text or the right quotation mark is preceded by upright text), then both are in upright font.

At the moment I use the third one. However, it seems to me to lack some consistency. Are there any standard style guide that touch this issue? (preferably with some explanation or discussions on the reasoning.)

  • 1
    This seems opinion based. I'd suggest to think whether one really wants to use quotation marks around italic text: isn't it too much emphasized? – egreg Jan 22 '17 at 9:53
  • Whatever looks best with the given font. When I have a quotation that begins or (more usually) ends with a piece set in italics, I personally prefer to tweak the kerning, if needed, rather than having the pair of quotation marks in different styles. – Kess Vargavind Jan 22 '17 at 10:07
  • It's not easy to answer your question fully as you haven't provided much context about (a) what's being italicized -- I assume it's mainly for the purpose of emphasis -- and (b) why there are quotation marks around the italicized words. A good starting point is to go with meaning: do the quotation marks belong to what's being stated with emphasis? If so, the quotation marks should be rendered in italics as well. Conversely, if the quotation marks don't belong, syntactically speaking, to the emphasized material, it's probably a good idea not to use italics for the quotation marks, right? – Mico Jan 22 '17 at 10:56
  • @ereg I agree this is much opinion based. I wasn't even sure if this quality as a "question" at all, as I said in the beginning. Nonetheless, I decided to ask anyway. If it's my own text, I would mostly to adapt a style that don't use too many quotation marks. The project I am undertaking is to typeset some classic literals from Project Gutenberg . So I have no control over the text itself at all. In some places, text need emphasis as indicated in the original, in other places, they are foreign, such as Latin or French, which by convention are typeset in italics. – Yan Zhou Jan 22 '17 at 13:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.