One of the most important aspects of quality essay, article, novel or any other type of paper is catching and retaining reader’s attention. In order to make sure your essays or articles are read from top to bottom, I’m going to show you different ways you can achieve emphasis in text.
After all, you don’t want your professor, client, or visitor of your blog or website to think the text is boring and stop reading it, right? Catching someone’s attention not only requires interesting and informative content. You have to know how to properly emphasize certain parts of the text. What I like the most about emphasizing text is that you can do so in numerous ways. This allows you to implement different essay strategies while typing.
Back in time, people couldn’t rely on various features in MS Word to achieve visual emphasis in text. In order to accomplish this, they used underlining in the typescript. Then, typesetter in the print shop would use italic font for the underlined words. Even today, one of the most common and easiest ways of emphasizing text is to Italianize or underline the phrase or a single word. With variety of options we have to make certain words of phrases visually stand out, it’s important to use them properly. Here are some examples.
- Italics – subtle stressing of the words, gives light emphasis
- Underline – used for emphasis of complete phrase, more insistent than italics
- Bold – used to make strong impact and create tension
- Size – bigger fonts stand out, while small fonts recede. But, you should be careful not to mix font sizes too much or text would look unappealing. Ideally, use bigger fonts for subheadings and chapter titles, while standard font size should be used for text
- Punctuation! – for example, exclamation mark adds extra emphasis to the entire sentence, but you should use them sparingly. When used excessively, exclamation marks don’t achieve desired effect
- Bullet points – drawing attention to important information to demonstrate key facts and it’s more appealing at the same time
- Color – brighter colors stand out more and they are used for achieving bigger impact while darker color are more subtle.
Arrangement and choice of words
Besides various text devices, you can let your readers know that what follows in text is very important by using specific words to express the emphasis e.g. particularly, crucially, additionally, above all, most importantly etc.
You can also create a powerful emphasis by repeating certain words or phrases e.g. keywords. This also improve a cohesive effect. Naturally, you should keep this effect moderate and strive not to repeat certain phrases too much. Otherwise, accentuating some parts of the text wouldn’t cause desired impact on reader.
Example: There are couples who dislike one another furiously for several hours at a time; there are couples who dislike one another permanently; and there are couples who never dislike one another; but these last are people who are incapable of disliking anybody. (George Bernard Shaw)
Another way of emphasizing text is to depart from the basic structural patterns of the language. For example, inversion of subject-verb-object pattern into object-subject-verb phrase is a great idea.
Example: He was mowing the lawn to chase away the boredom…
The lawn he was mowing to chase away the boredom…
Ideally, words or phrases you’d like to accentuate should be placed near beginnings or endings of sentences. Moreover, you should never put words you want to emphasize in subordinate clauses!
Example: You can’t deny the fact that technology has made a powerful impact onto business world today.
Undeniably, the impact of technology onto business world today has been powerful.
Other ways to achieve emphasis
- Use a question after series of statements
- Place subordinate clause in front of main clause
- Include short sentences (using variety sentences makes text seem choppy, but including them from time to time keeps readers’ attention and emphasizes particular part of text)
- Use contrasting words or phrases.
When adding emphasis to text you’re writing you should avoid some common traps that come with desire to make something stand out. Always bear in mind that moderation is the key and make sure you don’t overdo it. Furthermore, consistency is the key particularly when using visual tools to emphasize the text. I made sure the article contains easy tips and tricks that you can easily implement into your future tasks or school projects. With these simple hacks, you’ll keep readers’ attention and make your work visually appealing at the same time. Isn’t that what we all want anyway?