asterisks as bold or italic?

Merlin Mann markdown at
Mon Mar 15 20:10:21 EST 2004

>From the syntax guide:

> Markdown treats asterisks (*) and underscores (_) as indicators 
> of emphasis. Text wrapped with one * or _ will be wrapped with an 
> HTML <em> tag; double *’s or _’s will be wrapped with an HTML <strong> tag.

It's probably late in the game for a syntax suggestion, but I'm having a
hard time getting used to "*foo*" making text <em> instead of <strong>.

I wonder if my experience is unique, but I've always seen and used
asterisks to make something bold while wrapping with the space/underscore
would style text as italic. This goes for wikis I've used as well as text
mail from my provider ( (among others, I'm pretty

It would certainly be faster and less-error-prone to type a single
character in each case, plus it might open up the double characters for
use as "\-like" escape characters in the future.

If it's just my own peculiar habit, I can certainly un-learn it, but I'm
curious if anyone else had this experience when using Markdown.

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