I is for Ice

Crataegus sp.
This small hawthorn sits next to the shore of Lake Ontario, where the spray of wave action coated it with water on a cold, windy day.

I is for italic

Italic is a sloping typeface used for the following reasons:


I say we should go.

foreign words                                                  

His work was his raison d’etre.

genus and species (biological)              

Icterus icterus (exotic bird).

the first occurrence of a word                           

Italic is a sloping typeface. Use italics…

titles of publications, works of art                     

A Field Guide to the Birds.

legal references                                    

The Official Languages Act.

names of ships, aircraft, trains, etc.                   

HMCS Haida

unknown quantities in mathematics                   

Let n represent the number of things…

letters and words under discussion                   

The letter I is a vowel.

some headings                                                 

I is for Ice. 

Italic type and handwriting are derived from the style of Italian Aldus Manutius (1449—1515). Modern italic handwriting is a hybrid of printing and cursive, without the loops of many schoolroom styles.


  1. Search the Internet for “Icterus icterus” to find a photo of the bird and its common name.

E is for Escarpment

Springtime at Rattlesnake Point
Rattlesnake Point, part of the Niagara Escarpment, near Milton, Ontario.

E is for ellipses points

Ellipses points indicate an unstated continuation of a thought or the omission of something from a quotation.

She did not want to be seen or heard . . .

“Out, out . . . spot.”

— William Shakespeare, as read to schoolgirls in 1936. 

E is for emphasis

Emphasis in written text is indicated by changing the type with, for example, capital letters or italics.

OK, so it was a Big Deal.

Why don’t you pay now, rather than later?

Using all upper case letters in an e-mail or other messaging system indicates shouting and is considered rude.


E is for exclamation point

An exclamation point ( ! ) is also used for emphasis, and especially to get someone’s attention.

That’s why!

Watch out!


  1. Why don’t you see ellipses in newspapers?
  2. Write out the sentence, “Look ahead in the road.” using different methods of emphasis.
  3. Where would you use an exclamation point?

Special reading assignment

  1. An escarpment is a long cliff created by erosion or by a fault in the rocks.
  2. The Niagara Escarpment runs from Watertown, New York, through Niagara Falls, to Georgian Bay and the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario. From there it runs into Wisconsin. It was once the shore of an inland sea.