Note: This is one in a series of articles teaching kids how to create web pages, in terms of using correct style and grammar in written content and, more literally, how to format that writing in HMTL to build their own web pages.
When to use bold in writing isn’t something kids have to think about much when they are handwriting a paper for school. However, when it comes to writing in a word processing program or building a web page, it’s important to know how to use bold correctly.
What is Bold Print?
Bold print is one way of making words or phrases stand out from the rest of the text on a page by making them darker than the rest of the words. Like using italics in writing, using bold is a way to emphasize what is being said, but bold is a little more powerful because it attracts the reader’s eye more immediately.
In other words, using bold print sends a stronger message.
In fact, when you first learn about the different types of HTML tags that can be used to change the look of the text on a web page, you’ll learn that the tag for bold has actually changed over time, (also known as deprecated) from to . Strong is a more accurate description.
Using Bold in Writing
Because bold is strong enough to catch your reader’s eye, you have to be careful not to overuse it when you write. If you use bold too often it not only loses its power, but it can make your reader’s eyes tired. You can test it out by reading the first few paragraphs of this page again and then the last few sentences. (Did you find reading those sentences with a lot of bold print a little harder to do?)
When to Use Bold Print
There are some circumstances, though, in which using bold print is the right thing to do. Here are some times when bold is appropriate, especially when you’re writing for the web or building a web page:
- Emphasizing the main points on a list. You’ll notice, for example, that on this list, the first sentence of each point is in bold. That’s because the first sentence contains the main, or most important, idea.
- Highlighting important ideas or warnings. At the beginning of this article there is a note to readers that contains important information. The word “Note” is in bold to catch your attention. If what was written was a important safety warning, the whole sentence would be in bold.
- Introducing new or key vocabulary. Some writers use bold to make vocabulary words stand out from the rest of the page. Other use italics. It’s really a matter of personal choice, but whichever you choose, only use the format the first time you use the word or phrase.
- Breaking up text with headlines. If you’re using HTML to build a web page, there are specific tags to use for creating headlines for subsections. Those tags already make the headline stand out, but if you’re just writing a paper, you can use bold to make your headline stand out.