Do you bold punctuation directly after bold, linked or italic text?

3 Answers 3



Typographic rules (e.g. Forssman/de Jong, Detailtypographie), the most prominent, quasi-official orthographic authority (Duden), and Wikipedia all say:

A punctuation mark following emphasized text (in italics, boldface, small caps, caps, letter spacing, etc.) is also emphasized.

Exceptions are quotation marks and brackets, especially if only one of the pair would be emphasized.


The Chicago Manual of Style changed its recommendations from the fourteenth to the fifteenth edition. Where the older rule said that

Generally, punctuation marks are printed in the same style or font of type as the word, letter, character, or symbol immediately preceding them. (14th ed.)

it now says that

All punctuation marks should appear in the same font – roman or italic – as the main or surrounding text, except for punctuation that belongs to a title or an exclamation in a different font. This departure from Chicago's former usage serves both simplicity and logic. (15th ed.)

I cannot find any recommendation on the matter in the APA or MLA style manuals, both of which I have at hand and consulted, although there is at least one book that claims that "[punctuation] following italicized text is also italicized in APA style". I don't trust that unsubstantiated claim, but maybe someone else can find an official (i.e. APA or MLA published) opinion on the matter.

House styles may differ, as the accepted answer to the same question on English.SE states.

  • So there is a standard :). Oct 19, 2014 at 14:47
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    @GiantCowFilms The great thing about standards is that there are so many of them. Oct 19, 2014 at 23:33
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    @NeilFein Indeed... but its better than none. Oct 19, 2014 at 23:35

As a quick reference, if you would underline it (example a title Dr. John Doe, or John Doe, M.D.) then you would format it to match the text. If it is sentence punctuation then it is not formatted. Example: We went to New York and saw Oklahoma! on Broadway.; Send this to Dr. John Doe.; Send this to John Doe, M.D.; Send this to Mary.



This is a matter of style and totally up to you. In most cases (period, comma) people will not see the difference. For exclamation marks and question marks it is more obvious.

For me it looks better when these marks are italicized:

Do you really want to eat this?

On the other hand, I would never make them bold or include them into the link formatting.

But that's me. You can find a different approach on commnet.edu. (← see, period not included :))

  • I was hoping for a standard. I would note that it also changes from font to font, since sometimes with thin font a period can "disappear" after bold letters Oct 18, 2014 at 21:32
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    @GiantCowFilms xkcd.com/927 Jul 11, 2016 at 3:46
  • @NeilFein He he, that is funny. clearly we need to make our own new all encompassing standard. We can call it the GCF English guide or something. Jul 11, 2016 at 14:46

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