Foreign Words Indicated in Thesis Foreign Words Indicated in Thesis

Foreign Words Indicated in Thesis

How are Foreign Words Indicated in the Thesis?

You can indicate foreign words in your thesis in italics or quote entire sentences of borrowed terms using quotation marks. Your writing style ultimately determines how you can indicate foreign words in a thesis.

It could be hard to use foreign words in your thesis. You could decide to use words borrowed from other languages where there is no suitable English term. Foreign words might also be necessary when you need to add flair to your writing.

The best method to indicate foreign words in a thesis isn’t taught at many schools, hence many writers struggle with these borrowed terms. Let’s see how you can indicate foreign terms in your writing when you’re done reading through this guide.

How are Foreign Words Indicated in the Thesis?

You can indicate foreign words in a thesis using at least five (5) different writing styles. Here’s how to show readers where borrowed terms appear in your thesis:

APA Style

You can indicate foreign abbreviations, words, and phrases in this style when they are not familiar to most English speakers. However, you can only italicize such words the first time. You can leave such words in plain text if you use them anywhere else in the thesis.

MHRA Style

You can only italicize words and brief phrases from foreign languages, but you must leave direct quotes in plain text. If you are not sure of the word has a standard use in English, express them in roman style (Latinize where possible).

MLA Style

Italicize non-English terms wherever they appear in your thesis. However, you should leave full sentences within quotation marks. Non-English titles of short essays and articles should be in quotation marks too. Any foreign word or phrase with wide acceptance in English language should be left in plain text.

Chicago Style

Italicize standalone words and phrases from other languages only when they are not in common use with English terms. Foreign words as proper nouns should not be italicized, especially when they appear in an English language dictionary. Italicize the first use of foreign words and leave repeat uses in plain terms.

AMA Style

Italicize words or phrases that have no broad use in English language. You might need to explain meanings of such terms as footnotes wherever necessary.

Tips to Indicate Foreign Words in a Thesis

Italicize ONLY unfamiliar words or phrases

Do not italicize words in English even if these terms are in the same sentence with many foreign words. Apply italics only on foreign words you know your readers cannot understand.

Don’t italicize entire sentences of a foreign language

Sometimes, you might want to indicate whole sentences expressed in foreign words. Your initial idea could be to italicize the whole sentence, but that’s not how it works with most writing styles.

You can indicate sentences made up entirely of foreign words by quoting them in plain text. All you need to do is add the sentence between quotation marks to lead readers through your collection of borrowed words.

Italicize a combination of foreign words in different languages

Your thesis might contain ideas expressed in a combination of two or more languages. It doesn’t make sense to italicize one word in a foreign language and leave another borrowed term in plain text. Italicize both words, even if they appear in the same sentence.

No need to italicize foreign words common to English language

A huge chunk of English words originated from French, Spanish, Portuguese, and many other languages.

However, many foreign words remain unchanged in English text to this day. Hence, whenever you come across foreign words like ibid, et al., et cetera (etc.), and the rest, it’s better to leave them in plain text.

Such words might be familiar to most of your readers, and italicizing might make your thesis look strange.

Make the context clear

It isn’t compulsory to use foreign words in your thesis, especially if these terms are unnecessary to the completion of your essay. The context you plan to present a foreign term in should be clear to avoid confusing your readers.

Endeavor to double-check with someone that has a broad understanding of using foreign words in English text. Guidance from such an individual could be what determines if the foreign words should be in your thesis or not.


1.    How should I indicate foreign words in a thesis?

        You should indicate foreign words with italics to warn your readers that they might not understand what these terms mean without extra reading. Italics might not            be adequate to indicate long sentences of foreign words; use quotes in such cases and write the borrowed terms in plain text.

2.   How do you show foreign words in an essay?

       You should always italicize foreign words or short phrases in your thesis or other academic essay. Technical terms used by non-English authors are easy to add              when readers immediately see the difference in font type.

3.    How do you use foreign words?

        You can use foreign words by italicizing them or placing a whole sentence of borrowed terms in a quote. Italicize foreign phrases but leave whole sentences in                 plain text while you place them within quotation marks.

        Do not use inverted commas in place of quotation marks when you need to identify whole sentences written in foreign languages.

4.    What writing should I use for foreign words?

         The style of writing you should use for foreign words largely depends on your chosen approach. Over four writing styles exist that determine how you can                       indicate foreign terms in the middle of text.

         For example, Chicago style advises writers to italicize foreign terms in non-fiction and sparingly depending on the type of text.

Final Word

Indicating foreign words might be a challenge; however, it shouldn’t be a challenge after reading everything in this guide. You should be able to indicate foreign terms from languages like Welsh, French, Italian, and so on without stress. Follow the tips in this guide closely and add that much-needed style while putting your thesis together.