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Emphasis without italics

April 24, 2016

I’ve noticed a new way of showing emphasis in informal communications – mainly emails – where the word to be emphasised is placed between two asterisks, thus: “I don’t have a *clue* what she means”. Where does this come from? I suppose it’s because italics aren’t easy to do in emails or texts, and block capitals look rude, as if you’re shouting. The two-asterisk solution doesn’t quite do it for me, though. It just doesn’t look right or feel particularly emphatic. Perhaps I will get used to it.

But I have just discovered something interesting. On this word-processing programme (Neo Office) when you surround a word with asterisks it automatically removes them and puts the word in bold. It took me a lot of fiddling about before I worked out how to de-bold it and keep the asterisks. That’s strange. That’s *strange*.

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