Long before I bought my Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), 17th ed., I’d researched whether I should underline that which I wanted to italicize. I read (I forget where) that although in the past doing so was necessary, nowadays it’s not. However, in my last year of college–recently–two different older professors underlined my italics when they reviewed my works, signifying I should underline rather than italicize.
Armed with my CMS, I looked this up, finding what I was looking for under section 2.80, “Manuscript cleanup checklist.” Number nine on the list proved me right, reading, “Change underlining to italics.” This section also explains that “[s]ome underlining may be intended to represent true underscore,” such as underlines in a transcribed collection of handwritten letters (93). In this case, CMS suggests the author leave an explanatory note to the publisher.
What I love about The Chicago Manual of Style is one section usually leads to another, pushing me to learn more. For example, Section 2.80 says to see Section 6.2, which discusses how to deal with punctuation and italics. As well, sometimes I have to look up a number of sections listed under an index topic before I find the answer I’m looking for. During this quest for an answer, I often stumble upon valuable information. People interested in grammar, style, and usage, especially new writers, should consider buying a hardcopy of, or online subscription to, The Chicago Manual of Style, the book many editors refer to.