The consistent use of specific fonts, sizes and styles is one aspect of ensuring an identifiable corporate look. For more information on these points and on how they apply to the UOC's institutional texts, please see the UOC Style Guide.

More generally, special font styles can be used to direct readers' attention to specific items in a text, for emphasis, and to identify meta-linguistic references. That said, in deference to readers' innate abilities and to minimize distractions, they should not be abused.

Finally, font styles are also conventionally used in many bibliographic referencing systems. For more information on this point, check the author guidelines for the journal to which your paper will be submitted or general resources such as the Purdue Online Writing Lab.


Bolding can be used to draw attention to a given term or phrase within the body of a text. This is particularly true in online and advertising texts. Example:

Nevertheless, when it is overused in this way, it can lose its effect. It should thus be used frugally.



Bolding is also often used to set off the titles of texts and any section headings within them. Example:

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Italics can be used to emphasize a given term or phrase. Example:

However, as with bolding above, it is important not to overuse them for this purpose so as not to irritate readers or weaken their impact.


Foreign words and phrases

Italicize foreign words and phrases (including from Latin), except when they have come to be accepted as standard English. Example:

Notwithstanding the above, do not italicize foreign company and other proper names. Examples: 

Likewise, do not italicize foreign words when they comprise a direct quotation already set off in quotation marks. Example:


Metalinguistic references

Italics are also used to indicate metalinguistic references, that is, when discussing a given word or sentence used in a text or defining terms to be used subsequently therein. For example:

Likewise, they can also be used to refer to a given letter or group of letters in running text. Example:


Scientific nomenclature

The genera and species in the scientific names of living organisms are always italicized. Examples:

Additional italicization varies from field to field.


Titles of books, periodicals and works of art

The titles of books, newspapers, magazines, films, plays and other works of art should be italicized. Examples:


Verbatim reproductions

Italics can also be used to denote a verbatim reproduction of another text in running text. Example:

As noted, however, in English as in Catalan they should not be used when the passage being cited is already set off with quotation marks. 

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Alternative to italics

Underlining is sometimes used as an alternative to italics, although this usage is less common today than it was when most people used typewriters or wrote in longhand. Accordingly, underlining and italics should not be used at the same time. Likewise, they must be used consistently; that is, do not alternate between underlining and italics to place emphasis, indicate book titles, etc., within a given text. Example:



Underlining is often used in online texts to indicate hyperlinks. As a general rule, the UOC recommends using a combination of underlining and blue for such links. For example:

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The UOC recommends using smart quotes and curly apostrophes, rather than dumb quotes and straight apostrophes, wherever possible. However, this recommendation is always subject to the need to ensure consistent use of one set of glyphs or the other throughout the text. Examples:

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