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Italics use

I looked in some style manuals and couldn't find any reference to the use of italics to indicate that something being spoken is electronic, in other words, part of a news broadcast overheard, or an announcement coming over a loudspeaker.

It seems I've seen this use of italics often in fiction.

Then I wonder, if I opt to do it, do I still use quotes around the text? It's liberally sprinkled with the narrator's first-person thoughts, so it would look something like this:


"We're looking at three more inches of rain."

I hate that newsanchor. His sportcoat is too tight.

"In other news...." I wonder if his co-anchor hates him too? She looks pretty perky. "...and the Washington Redskins lost a pre-season game."


In general, I'm thinking no. The italics are too fussy, especially interspersed with the non-italics. It's quite obvious who is talking and where. I don't need to italicize to differentiate the speaker (and that's something that strikes me as amateurish anyway.) But my beta-reader suggested italics to indicate electronics are speaking, and I"m now scratching my head.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 21st, 2008 08:27 pm (UTC)
Just quotes, no italics according to Chicago Manual of Style. This type of thing seems to fall under the topic of "unspoken discourse."
Apr. 21st, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC)
I thought unspoken discourse was someone talking to themselves. Thoughts.

Hm. It appears I USED to have a style manual and I no longer do. I'll bet I donated it to the library thinking I had two. I have something called Fowler's word usage, but that's not the same at all.

Regardless, I think it is wise to lump the electronic voices in to some kind of category, and whether they're treated like plain old spoken words or unspoken discourse, it's still no italics.

Thanks for looking that up :D
Apr. 22nd, 2008 07:50 am (UTC)
I love the term "unspoken discourse." It sounds like a Victorian euphemism for a sexual practice. :D

I'm finding that the rules of punctuation = the whim of your industry's big-name copyeditors. In my non-fiction niche writing, there are required formats that forced me to unlearn everything I ever knew about footnoting and standard academic forms.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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