In a novel I am currently writing, characters frequently express thoughts. Following the advice I found here, which states: "Never use quotation marks for thoughts, even if those thoughts are inner dialogue, a character talking to himself. Reserve quotation marks for speech that’s vocalized." It generally seems to be recommended to use italics when showing that a character is thinking instead of talking.

That's all fine, but now I am running into the problem that I also need to add emphasis sometimes. For example: "And what have you done all this time?" I usually also do this with italics, since boldface is too strong - It literally catches the attention too much.

But now my (probably stupid) problem: What do I do when a character is thinking something with emphasis? Example: He thought Yeah, YOU'RE one to talk. Now, I could just use capital letters, as I did here for illustration purposes, but these look very unprofessional to me.

Does anyone have any advice on how to circumvent this problem?

1 Answer 1


You could always not italicize parts that should stand out. The key point is to break up the flow of the text so that it is visible somehow.

Capitalization could be interpreted as an internal EMOTIONAL SHOUT more than a sarcastic tone.

  • I feel like an idiot right now, for not having thought of that. Thank you very much! Aug 27, 2014 at 12:11

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