I was editing a paper for a university student this week, and I noticed the title of a publication was underlined. Underlining titles was once the norm. Today, I recommend against it.

I highly suggest avoiding underlining as emphasis if at all possible. The use of underlining to indicate links on websites has expropriated this formatting style. This has become so ingrained that users assume any underlined text is automatically a link.

Never use underlining for emphasis online. Even offline (in print), I’d suggest replacing it with italics.

As well, if your copy is going to an editor, your underlining may indicate editorial changes, and it could confuse your editor and you.

About Kim Siever

I am a copywriter and copyeditor. I blog on writing tips mostly, but I sometimes throw in my thoughts about running a small business. Follow me on Twitter at @hotpepper.

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