Originally Posted by Uggg
Oh, I've seen it a few times in Scifi novels and even in fantasy where gods communicate with avatars etc... Bold or 'all caps' is sometimes used in the same way. I think I recall reading a book where a different font was used for this as well, can't remember what it was though.
Pratchett's "Discworld" uses small caps with no quotes for the "voice" of Death. Might be what you're thinking of?
Originally Posted by SimonDoom
I've always thought of underlining and italics use to be functionally interchangeable, so they're never used together.
There is an important difference between bold, underlining, and italics.
Italics provide local
emphasis: you notice it at the point where you read the italicised word, but not before then.
Bold provides global
emphasis: it catches your attention even before you get to the bolded word. So in reading this post, you probably pay attention to my bolded "global" before you see my italicised "local".
Bold can be really effective in situations where you don't expect people to read the whole document in order, and you want to help them navigate it quickly. For example, if I was writing a glossary of biological terms:
, also known as the sneaky fucker strategy
, refers to a reproductive strategy where subordinate males pretend to be females in order to deceive a dominant male and gain access to his mates."
Anybody looking for a definition of "kleptogyny" or SFS can quickly spot those terms while scanning through; they don't have to read every word on the page to find what they're after.
This effect is rarely desirable in fiction writing, where you normally want people to start at the start, read all the words, and finish at the end. For that reason, italics are generally preferable in fiction.
Underlining falls somewhere between the two: it gives some level of global emphasis, but not as strong as bolding text. One consideration here is that in online resources its standard use is to flag a hyperlink
, so readers may be confused if you use it for other reasons.
And as electricblue66 points out, any of these may come across very differently, or not at all, for people using non-default ways to read your story.