Typographic styles (was Literary pet peeves)

Philip.Belben at eme.co.uk Philip.Belben at eme.co.uk
Thu Feb 27 07:59:36 EST 2003

>> --- Sally Odgers <sodgers at tassie.net.au> wrote: >
>>> This reminds me of the King James bible... it used to puzzle me
>>> (until I
>>> found out why) that some words were always in italics.
>> Why are they?
> I was told the italic words were those for which there was no precise
> English equivalent to the original. "Love" for example actually stands in
> for something more like loving kindness or charity... Italic words gave the
> general sense without being entirely accurate.

Umm.  I don't want to sound like I'm laying down the law here, since I'm not
entirely sure myself, but I believe these words are those for which there is no
word _at all_ in the original - they've been inserted to make the sense clear.
Usually it will be structural words - conjunctions, relatives, etc - that are
inserted to make a Hebrew or Greek sentence structure into an English one;
occasionally a noun is supplied that was implied in the original (I recall
seeing "men" done that way once).

I would suggest that if it were simply those which are not exact equivalents,
you'd get four or five italic words to each verse, and not the one every four or
five verses that you actually see.


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