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Little changes can go a long way

Published 12 months ago • 1 min read

Today is Cinco de Mayo, the day that commemorates Mexico's victory over France in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It is not Mexican Independence Day, which is on September 16. The two holidays are often confused in the United States, where Cinco de Mayo has become a popular day to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage.

Although many things associated with Cinco de Mayo, such as mariachi and mole poblano, are used often enough in English that they are in English-language dictionaries, you might stumble upon some that are not. So here's a quick reminder about writing non-English words: Don't put them in italics.

For a long time, it was common convention to put non-English words in italics. But that convention is on its way out since, despite the intention, it can have an "othering" effect that does more harm than good. The trend away from italicizing is just one of the many ways that little changes in language can add up to make a big difference.

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