Define: Emphasis Added

Emphasis Added
Emphasis Added
Quick Summary of Emphasis Added

Emphasis added refers to the practice of highlighting specific words in a quote through italics or other means. It serves as a signal to the reader that the emphasized words were not originally present in the quote, but were added by the writer. This is also referred to as emphasis supplied.

What is the dictionary definition of Emphasis Added?
Dictionary Definition of Emphasis Added

Emphasis added, also known as emphasis supplied, is a citation signal used to indicate that the writer has added emphasis to certain words or phrases in a quote by italicising or underlining them. The purpose of this signal is to draw attention to the emphasised words and convey the writer’s intention or opinion. For instance, in the original quote “I never said she stole my money,” the writer adds emphasis to the word “never” to emphasise their denial of making the statement. Similarly, in the quote “The book was not very interesting,” the writer adds emphasis to the word “not” to highlight their opinion that the book lacked interest. Lastly, in the quote “The company will be profitable this year,” the writer adds emphasis to the phrase “this year” to emphasise the specific time frame in which the company is expected to achieve profitability.

Full Definition Of Emphasis Added

The phrase “emphasis added” is commonly used in legal documents to indicate that a particular emphasis on a part of a quoted text has been inserted by the author of the document and not the original source. This overview examines the usage, significance, and legal implications of “emphasis added” in British law, with a focus on its application in legal writing, court judgments, and statutory interpretation. The discussion will also consider potential issues arising from its misuse and the ethical considerations involved.

Usage in Legal Writing

Legal writing often involves quoting statutes, case law, and other authoritative texts. Lawyers and judges use the phrase “emphasis added” to draw attention to specific words or phrases within these quotations. This practice serves to highlight aspects that are particularly relevant to the argument or interpretation being presented.

Purpose and Function

  • Clarification: Emphasis can clarify the meaning or significance of a particular part of the text.
  • Argumentation: It can strengthen a legal argument by focusing the reader’s attention on key points.
  • Precision: Helps in conveying the precise intention behind the citation.


Consider a legal brief where a lawyer quotes a statute and adds emphasis:

“The accused shall be given a fair trial (emphasis added).”

Here, the emphasis on “fair trial” underscores its importance to the lawyer’s argument about due process.

Judicial Use of “Emphasis Added”

Judges frequently use “emphasis added” in their written judgments. This practice helps in elucidating the reasons behind their decisions, ensuring that the rationale is clear and comprehensible.

Case Law

In case law, judges might emphasize parts of previous judgments or statutory provisions to support their reasoning. For example:

“The contract must be interpreted in light of the surrounding circumstances (emphasis added).”

Interpretative Role

Judicial emphasis can play a crucial role in statutory interpretation. By highlighting certain words or phrases, judges guide the interpretation towards a particular understanding or application of the law.

Ethical Considerations

The ethical use of “emphasis added” is paramount in legal writing and judgments. Misuse or overuse can mislead readers, distort the intended meaning of the original text, and undermine the integrity of legal arguments.

Principles of Ethical Usage

  • Accuracy: Ensure the emphasis does not alter the original meaning.
  • Transparency: Clearly indicate that the emphasis is the author’s addition.
  • Integrity: Avoid using emphasis to manipulate or misrepresent the text.

Potential Issues

Misleading emphasis can lead to misinterpretations and legal disputes. For instance, emphasizing a particular part of a statute might suggest a different meaning than intended by the legislature.

Statutory Interpretation and “Emphasis Added”

Statutory interpretation is a critical area where “emphasis added” can significantly influence the understanding and application of the law.

Principles of Statutory Interpretation

  • Literal Rule: Emphasizing specific words can affect the literal interpretation.
  • Golden Rule: Helps in avoiding absurd results by highlighting critical text.
  • Mischief Rule: Focuses on the purpose of the statute, where emphasis can aid in understanding legislative intent.


When interpreting the phrase “reasonable care,” a judge might emphasize “reasonable” to underline the standard expected:

“The duty to take reasonable care (emphasis added) is central to negligence law.”

Misuse and Legal Consequences

Misuse of “emphasis added” can have serious legal consequences, including misinterpretation of laws, flawed legal arguments, and unjust judgments.

Case Studies

Examining case studies where misuse of emphasis led to significant legal disputes can illustrate these consequences. For example, if a lawyer emphasizes a part of a contract clause that changes its perceived meaning, it could result in a breach of contract claim.

Preventative Measures

  • Training: Legal professionals should receive training on the appropriate use of emphasis in legal documents.
  • Review: Rigorous review processes should be in place to catch potential misuse before documents are filed or published.


The use of “emphasis added” in British legal writing and judgments serves as a powerful tool to highlight important aspects of quoted text. When used ethically and accurately, it enhances clarity and strengthens legal arguments. However, misuse can lead to misinterpretations and legal disputes, highlighting the need for careful and responsible application. Legal professionals must be diligent in their use of emphasis to maintain the integrity of legal documents and the justice system.


  • Statutory Interpretation: Understanding the principles and application of statutory interpretation in British law.
  • Case Law Examples: Analysis of case law where “emphasis added” played a significant role.
  • Legal Writing Guides: Best practices for legal writing, including the use of emphasis.
  • Ethical Guidelines: Ethical considerations and guidelines for legal professionals.
Emphasis Added FAQ'S

Yes, you can use the phrase “Emphasis Added” in legal documents to highlight specific text or draw attention to important information.

No, it is not necessary to include the phrase “Emphasis Added” when quoting from a source in a legal brief. However, if you choose to emphasize certain words or phrases, it is common practice to indicate this by using the phrase “Emphasis Added” in brackets.

Yes, you can use the phrase “Emphasis Added” in court filings to indicate that you have added emphasis to a specific portion of a quoted text. This helps to ensure transparency and clarity in your arguments.

There is no specific format for using the phrase “Emphasis Added” in legal documents. However, it is generally placed in brackets after the emphasized text to clearly indicate that the emphasis was added by the author.

There are no specific restrictions on using the phrase “Emphasis Added” in legal writing. However, it is important to use it judiciously and only when necessary to avoid overemphasis or misrepresentation of the original text.

Yes, you can use alternative phrases such as “emphasis mine” or “emphasis in original” to indicate added emphasis in legal documents. The key is to clearly convey that the emphasis was added by you and not present in the original text.

No, you do not need to obtain permission to use the phrase “Emphasis Added” in your legal documents. It is a commonly used practice in legal writing to indicate added emphasis.

Yes, you can use the phrase “Emphasis Added” in contracts or agreements to highlight specific terms or conditions that require special attention. This can help ensure that all parties are aware of the emphasized provisions.

It is not necessary to explain the reason for adding emphasis when using the phrase “Emphasis Added” in legal documents. However, if the reason for emphasis is crucial to the argument or interpretation, it may be helpful to provide a brief explanation.

Yes, you can use the phrase “Emphasis Added” in legal correspondence or emails to draw attention to specific points or to highlight important information. This can help ensure that your message is clear and effectively communicated.

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This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 6th June 2024.

Cite Term

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  • Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):Emphasis Added. DLS Solicitors. (accessed: June 16 2024).
  • American Psychological Association (APA):Emphasis Added. Retrieved June 16 2024, from website:
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