Do I use italics for hotel and restaurant names?

  • Questioner

    I'm writing a bio for a friend, and I mention many hotels and restaurants, some of which are foreign. Should I use italics?

  • Answers
  • MrHen

    I would say no. Here is a quick guide on the correct usage of italics. To summarize: Don't use it for the proper noun. They example they give for a restaurant: if you write about a certain dish you ate that might not be commonly known, italicize it, but do not italicize the restaurant name.

  • wvmann

    There is the consideration that a restaurant name might be confused for a geographical location in some cases; you could use quotation marks around the name to avoid confusion.

  • Related Question

    Usage of italics in writing
  • kiamlaluno

    In which cases is a word, or a group of words written in italics?
    Is italics used in specific contexts, or it is quite normal to write words in italics?

  • Related Answers
  • nohat

    The Wikipedia page on Italic type gives a pretty good overview, along with some examples.

    • Emphasis: "Smith wasn't the only guilty party, it's true".
    • The titles of works that stand by themselves, such as books (including those within a larger series), albums, plays, or periodicals: "He wrote his thesis on The Scarlet Letter". Works that appear within larger works, such as short stories, poems, or newspaper articles, are not italicized, but merely set off in quotation marks.
    • The names of ships: "The Queen Mary sailed last night."
    • Foreign words, including the Latin binomial nomenclature in the taxonomy of living organisms: "A splendid coq au vin was served"; "Homo sapiens".
    • Using a word as an example of a word rather than for its semantic content (see use-mention distinction): "The word the is an article".
      • Using a letter or number mentioned as itself:
        • John was annoyed; they had forgotten the h in his name once again.
        • When she saw her name beside the 1 on the rankings, she finally had proof that she was the best.
    • Introducing or defining terms, especially technical terms or those used in an unusual or different way: "Freudian psychology is based on the ego, the super-ego, and the id."; "An even number is one that is a multiple of 2."
    • Sometimes in novels to indicate a character's thought process: "This can't be happening, thought Mary."
    • Algebraic symbols (constants and variables) are conventionally typeset in italics.
    • Symbols for physical quantities and mathematical constants: "The speed of light, c, is approximately equal to 3.00×108 m/s." I've seen all of these usage cases between my reading of fiction and non-fiction texts. In particular, I've seen several authors switch to italics for the length of one or even multiple paragraphs to represent the thoughts of a character. Within such paragraphs, text that is normally italicised is put in regular/upright (Roman) type.

    (See also this page, though it says very similar things to the Wiki page.)

    Hope that helps.

  • RegDwigнt

    Off the top of my head, italics are used for:

    • book titles
    • foreign words
    • Latin names of species

    In the first and second case, you could just as well enclose the word(s) in quotes (without using italics). The third one seems to be set in stone.

  • nohat

    The other answers have many good examples of when to use italics, but I wanted to emphasize that on this site in particular I most frequently use italics to clarify the use–mention distinction—that is, to mention a word rather than use it. Of course, in the previous sentence I used italics to emphasize and not for the use–mention distinction. Quotation marks are also frequently used to clarify the use–mention distinction, but I tend to reserve them for mentioning multi-word phrases and use italics for single words.