Q. In a paper, I often use phrases like “the word good.” Should I italicize “good” throughout or only initially? If I use “good” as a word but don’t say “the word” before I use it this way, should I still italicize it?
A. Always italicize or use quotation marks the first time you use a word as a word. Then, if the word is a term that you use naturally after that, you can drop the italics. If at some point you again use the word as a word—whether or not you use the word word—you need the special treatment: I use the word bike to mean a bicycle. My friends with bikes also use bike when they talk about bicycles.