asterisks as bold or italic? (another push)

Joshua Herzig-Marx JHerzigMarx at
Tue Mar 30 15:06:59 EST 2004

One more good reason for *strong* and _em_: MS Word's autoformat feature
used *bold* and _italics_. Not that many of us would care, but if we're
looking for the tool to be used by less technical folks...

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Timothy Binder [mailto:lists at]
>Sent: Tue, March 30, 2004 2:55 PM
>To: markdown-discuss at
>Subject: asterisks as bold or italic? (another push)
>Specifically, on a typewriter, you are supposed to mark certain items, 
>such as titles (e.g. Romeo and Juliet), by underlining them. When you 
>typeset them (which is what you are effectively doing when using 
>computerized publishing), the equivalent is to italicize the item. 
>This, to me, shows a long-standing one-to-one correspondence between 
>italics and underlining.
>I also feel that *emphasis* is stronger than _emphasis_. Just on a 
>visual basis, "*" is larger & stronger than "_". Looking at a paragraph 
>with both, the *asterisked* word jumps out at you, whereas the 
>_underlined_ word is more subtle, at least to me. This, too, directly 
>corresponds with the difference between boldface and italics. Boldface 
>tends to interrupt the flow of the text and jump out at the reader, 
>whereas italics are a more subtle emphasis.

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