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How to Create Emphasis

When I came up in the creative writing world, using italics was considered lazy. Putting certain phrases in ALL CAPS might seem to lend a powerful force, but people just end up feeling like you’re yelling at them. And when you underline a point it comes off as an instruction to the reader that she or he must follow or else.

Italics were invented to save space so that books could be printed more cheaply and thereby reach the masses. Capital letters were designed to indicate proper nouns by using one per word (only) (unless you’re Scottish). And underlining…I don’t know the first use of underlining offhand and I’m not going to stop now and look it up.

Because my point still stands: We create emphasis with word order, with word choice, with punctuation and with sentence length — and not just by varying the font.

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