“Emphasis Mine”: Meaning & Correct Usage (Helpful Examples)

“Emphasis mine” is a common construct that you might see appear in brackets after a quote. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what it might mean or how to use it, you’ve come to the right place. This article will talk you through everything you need to know.

What Does “Emphasis Mine” Mean?

“Emphasis mine” means that the writer has added emphasis to a quote. Usually, this emphasis is added in italics. If the emphasis wasn’t originally written in the quote, then it’s important that the author uses “emphasis mine” as a disclaimer to show it was their own choice.

emphasis mine

For example, let’s imagine that the following quote is referenced in your writing:

  • “The gates were opened due to this act.”

As is, the quote has no specific emphasis. It is just a statement that might be related to something you are writing about. If you want to add it to your own writing, you may want to emphasize certain parts of it.

  • “The gates were opened due to this act” [emphasis mine].

Here, “opened” has been emphasized by italicizing it. It is now a very important word in the sentence, but it is not emphasized as part of the original quote.

The writer added the italics to signify something. Therefore, it’s important to show that you added the emphasis.

You can actually look at it like this:

  • Emphasis mine
  • (the) emphasis (is) mine

The words in the brackets are omitted, but the context still makes them clear.

Where Does “Emphasis Mine” Go in a Quotation?

According to most mainstream style guides, “emphasis mine” should always be added after the quotation has closed. APA Style and MLA Style (to name a few) both agree that the “emphasis mine” phrase should be highlighted in brackets after the quote is completed.

There is never a time when you would include “emphasis mine” within the quotation. It is not part of the original statement or sentence, so it makes no sense to include it within the quotation marks.

The Chicago Manual of Style also agrees with these rules. You should always include “emphasis mine” outside of quotation marks.

It can appear in either parenthesis () or brackets []. It’s up to you which version you think would look clearer in your writing. Most people stick more to square brackets because they are easier to show that you have added emphasis.

Also, if you’re going to use this phrase, make sure that you’ve actually added emphasis correctly. Most style guides will tell you to use italics for such cases when you want to highlight the importance of words in quotations.

Here are some examples to see how to use “emphasis mine” in a sentence:

  1. “The people of the forest wanted to be at the end of the road” [emphasis mine].
  2. “The uneasy feeling they get from being around this place set them on edge” [emphasis mine].
  3. “I didn’t know if I could do it without the help of some of the others” [emphasis mine].
  4. “There were a couple of hounds chasing the poor child” [emphasis mine].
  5. “It couldn’t have been stopped because it was too late to do anything about it” [emphasis mine].
  6. “There needs to be some kind of punishment for this situation” [emphasis mine].
  7. “Greenhouses are the answer to the climate problem that so many people ignore” [emphasis mine].

You can emphasize multiple parts of the quotation as well. You don’t have to limit yourself to own italicizing one word. If you would rather emphasize a whole phrase or multiple different words, you can do so.

Does “Emphasis Mine” Mean “Emphasis Added”?

“Emphasis mine” and “emphasis added” mean similar things. They both show that an emphasis has been added to a quotation that wasn’t originally there. However, “emphasis mine” shows that you change the quote. “Emphasis added” implies that anybody could have done it.

The meanings differ based on responsibility.

“Emphasis mine” claims responsibility for changing a quote to highlight certain areas.

“Emphasis added” does not claim responsibility. The implication is that someone else emphasized the quote, and you are merely repeating that emphasis.

“Emphasis Mine” – Synonyms

There aren’t many great synonyms for “emphasis mine.” Maybe one of the following will work well for you:

  • Emphasis added
  • With added emphasis