Q & A with the Chicago Manual of Style [Repost from CMS Online]

7 01 2013


Q. I am editing a professor’s CV. In many cases, he gives two years for an article he has published. He gives the year corresponding to the issue number, as well as the year the issue was actually published. What is the correct way to include this information in a citation?

A. It’s not conventional to mention the year an article was printed, although an exception might be made if a publication was delayed many years or appeared in advance of the issue date, or if the timing of the printing was critical to some development in the discipline. Otherwise, it’s potentially confusing and unhelpful to have two dates. Libraries and online databases use the publication date, not the printing date. If your professor can’t defend his inclusion of the printing date, devise a style that is crystal clear, such as “(printed in 2012).”

Q. For text following a long block quotation, is it a must to indent, even if adding a single line? It seems confusing (visually) to do so.

A. Indent only if you are starting a new paragraph. If the text continues the paragraph that precedes the block quotation, then it should begin with no indent. Please see CMOS 13.22 (“Text following a block quotation”).

Q. I’m working on a document that has a glossary of terms, and for the first instance of each glossary term in the text there is a footnote saying that the word is defined in the glossary. I find this awkward, especially when there are three glossary terms in one small paragraph—it’s cluttered and distracting. I’d rather drop the footnotes and instead mention in the foreword or overview that the document has a glossary.

A. As you suggest, this method is not only awkward—it’s irritating. Even just the presence of “Glossary” in the table of contents can suffice, although a mention in the foreword is also a good idea.

Q. Browsing both the 15th and 16th editions for citation rules, I don’t see instruction on how to cite live performance. Given that performance studies, dance/theater criticism, and musicology/ethnomusicology are established disciplines, and that observing live performance is a necessary research method, I don’t see why that source (and its creators/producers) should not be cited.

A. It’s not that Chicago rejects live performance as a legitimate source; there simply isn’t room for examples of every kind. If live performances are the backbone of your research, the lack of a citation form in CMOS should not prevent you from citing them. You can mimic the standard order of citation elements (name, title, place, date) or order them in a way that makes sense for your work, such as chronologically for works by the same person.

Q. My boss likes to dictate letters using what I refer to as declarative or emphatic speech: “She did go to the store and she did buy that hat. I did tell her that it was a lovely hat.” I have never seen text typed in this manner and generally edit it to “She went to the store and bought that hat. I told her that it was a lovely hat.” Which is correct?

A. There’s nothing incorrect about your boss’s construction, but even perfect grammar can be distracting and annoying. I’ve noticed this usage particularly in flight-attendant speech. (“We do expect to be landing shortly.” “We do ask you to return your seat to its upright position.”) You should feel confident editing out the extraneous emphasis.

Q. I understand how in proofreading (as opposed to copyediting) you write only the proofreaders’ marks in the text, with corrections and operations in the margins (such as writing a caret in the text to indicate insertion, but putting the letter to be inserted in the margin, not above the caret), as in fig. 2.7 of CMOS 16. But is there some protocol as to which notations go in which margin? Do they all go in the left margin, or do you split them up evenly between left and right?

A. As long as they are readable and in left-to-right order, it doesn’t matter how you divide corrections between the two margins.

Q. I am editing a large academic textbook where the authors have at least six different native languages, none of which are English. We have hit a bit of a hitch when it comes to proper nouns. In most cases, they all agree that we should use the English spelling, but some of them have strong feelings about using the spelling in the original language in other cases. What are the Chicago guidelines regarding use of original spelling versus anglicized spelling in academic manuscripts?

A. We prefer consistency and clarity, however you achieve it. As the editor, you should wrangle the authors into agreement. If the chapters have different authors, you can choose to observe consistency within but not across chapters. Agree on (or dictate) a specific reference work (such as a dictionary or encyclopedia of place-names) as a default. Negotiate a list of exceptions from each author and add them to your style sheet. Please see CMOS 8.46 and sections thereabouts for more advice.

Q. Do footnotes have to be double-spaced and the same size font as the text? It just does not look right!

A. In Chicago style, yes. Remember that traditionally manuscripts are prepared for someone to edit on paper, if necessary. Manuscripts are not meant to “look right” if that means looking like a published article or book. The type should be large enough for easy reading, and there should be enough space between the lines for copyediting. (If the manuscript will be edited electronically, the editor can easily change the format, of course, and none of this matters.) When material is typeset in a book or journal, the notes are usually reduced in size and printed single-space—and then they will look right to you.

Q. I am editing an article for publication. The author is discussing a Yiddish tale entitled Simkhe Plakhte. The title is also the name of the central character in this tale, and the author also uses it as a genre, as in “the basic narrative elements of the Simkhe Plakhte tale.” Should “Simkhe Plakhte” be treated as a title and italicized, or is it used as a general term? In general, if a writer uses the title of a folktale as a genre, does it need to be treated as a title?

A. It’s usual to use italics for a title but roman for a genre or character. There are times when it doesn’t matter which you choose: you can read the Harry Potter books or the Harry Potter books. For these gray areas, pick a default style and note it in your style sheet.

Q. An editor for a journal using the CMOS 15th edition has changed all of my plural possessives (patients’ suffering, positivists’ project) to, e.g., patients’s suffering, positivists’s project. This is incorrect. The former, not the latter, is correct. Yes?

A. The former is correct—and let’s hope this was just one of those momentary brain misfires that even the best editors occasionally suffer. Please see CMOS 7.15 (7.17 in the 15th edition).

December Q&A

Q. When did calendar come into common US use as a verb? I always find it difficult to obey when asked to calendar an upcoming meeting, because I hear calender (comes from cylinder), the act of moving paper between two rollers to smooth its surface.

A. It’s possible you aren’t the only person who, when faced with an upcoming meeting, imagines smashing the agenda to bits, but I’m guessing that among US workers calendar is far more familiar than calenderMerriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary tells us thatcalendar has been a transitive verb since the fifteenth century—plenty of time for it to catch on in the States. A superficial search of the verb forms calendared and calendaring at Google Books’ Ngram Viewer shows their usage in American English beginning in the early nineteenth century.

Q. A client asked CMOS about capitalizing coach when it was used as a nickname. They got the following in reply:

Yes, it’s conventional to cap words like Coach or Captain or Auntie when they stand in for a person’s name. If you refer to “a coach” or “the coach” or “my aunt” or “the captain of the ship” in a sentence, however, it is lowercased.

I would have thought that Captain would be considered a title and come under the general rules in 8.18 and not be capitalized other than in direct address—likewise Auntie ought to come under the kinship exception in 8.35 and would be capitalized. As coach is a title, and includes no name, I was lowercasing it other than in direct address. Please advise if this is incorrect.

A. Your client’s information is correct. If a person is called Coach in place of his or her name, then anytime the word coach is substituted for that name it should be capped. To decide, see whether an actual name would fit in the same sentence. If it fits, cap coach as a name:

“Hi, Coach!” / “Hi, Jim!” (The name works as a substitute, so cap Coach.)

I saw the coach smile and wave / I saw the Jim smile and wave. (The name does not work as a substitute, so lowercase coach.)

I saw Captain Smith smile and wave / I saw Sally Smith smile and wave. (The name works, so cap Captain.)

I think her aunt is a bookie / I think her June is a bookie. (Lowercase aunt.)

It doesn’t matter what the word is: captain, coach, aunt, joker, brain. If it’s used in place of a name, cap it.

Q. Section 9.38 seems pretty straightforward: “Times of day in even, half, and quarter hours are usually spelled out in text.” I’m an editor on contract with one of the larger self-publishing companies. I recently got this note from an editorial staffer: “In several instances, you changed references like 1:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. to one a.m. and ten p.m. . . . If you have found specific Chicago rules to support the changes you’ve made, please let me know and I’ll be happy to pass the manuscript through as is. However, I don’t know of a rule that would allow that. If you don’t know of one either, would you please change the time references with a.m. and p.m. back to numeral form and resend?” For seven years, I’ve been spelling out times of day ending with :00, :15, :30, and :45, with or without a.m./p.m., if they did not seem particularly significant in context. This is the first time it has been called into question.

A. Your correspondent is correct; expressions like “one a.m.” are not Chicago style. Better to write “1:00 a.m.” or “one in the morning,” depending on whether you mean the time exactly or not, respectively.

Q. I have an examiner of a doctoral thesis criticizing footnotes because they renumber at every new chapter, starting at 1. Presumably he wants them to flow from one (1) to the last number sequentially through the entire thesis. Who is right?

A. Many universities have strict rules and formats for dissertations, so it’s possible that the examiner had no choice in the matter. Almost all the books that we publish at the University of Chicago restart the numbering of notes (whether footnotes or endnotes) at 1 at the beginning of each chapter. Rarely do the notes number all the way through a book. That said, there’s no single “correct” way; it’s simply a matter of style.

Q. I’ve been coming across this construction using the verb help: helping our patients be home for the holidays; knowing that we have helped so many people be home for the holidays. I recognize the usage; it’s common in my region. But I’ve been recommending to be homeas the grammatically unimpeachable (and to my ear better) choice. I haven’t found a discussion of the matter anywhere. I would appreciate a recommendation.

A. The omission of to in constructions with help is also unimpeachable. In fact, often the addition of to would impart an unreasonably stilted or formal tone: Let me help you to reach that. Please take a look at CMOS 5.104.

Q. I’m editing a paper that compares entries in two eighteenth-century French dictionaries. The author has included headwords—both French and English—in all caps throughout the paper. This is fatiguing, especially in long lists of entries in running text. Does Chicago style recommend a format for referring to headwords in running text?

A. I’m afraid CMOS isn’t that specific. If the paper is going to be published, the copyeditor, writer, and designer will likely consult over the typographical treatment of elements like this. In preparation, you might ask the writer to submit examples of quoted headwords from other sources on the topic.

Q. I seem to find conflicting information, and I can’t figure out the following: is it OK or not to introduce a block quotation with an incomplete sentence (such as “The passage states”) followed by a colon? Or does the sentence have to be a complete sentence?

A. Either way is fine. (In fact, “The passage states” is complete—or independent—on its own. “The passage states that” is incomplete.) Independent clauses usually require some end punctuation; incomplete ones often do not. Please see the examples at CMOS 13.11–21.

Q. Does hyphenation render a diaeresis redundant? Because it wrapped to another line, the word naïveté was rendered as na-ïveté.  Should this appear in print as na-iveté?

A. No. Hyphenation imposed at line breaks in typesetting should be regarded as temporary and invisible rather than part of the word. You can bet that if a proofreader were to remove that diaeresis, in the next round someone else’s correction would cause the word to end up whole again. Better to leave well enough alone.

Q. Do I treat “as and when required” with a suspended hyphen when adjectival? E.g.: “an as- and when-required basis.” Or join up: “an as-and-when-required basis.” Unfortunately, we’re stuck with transcribing substantially verbatim legislative debates.

A. Ick. If you were able to reword this construction, you could simply write “when required.” But since you’re stuck, it’s probably better to quote the offending phrase than wrangle with hyphens: an “as and when required” basis.

Q. Is it proper writing to start a sentence using a coordinating conjunction in a quotation? “Her dress is ugly,” said Jane. “But please don’t tell her I said that.”

A. Of course—as long as it reflects the intention of the writer. Your construction indicates a firm pause in Jane’s speech, with the effect that the second half reads like an afterthought. Using a comma and lowercasing “but” could leave open the possibility that Jane spoke without a significant pause, in which case the second half would come across as Jane’s main point: “Her dress is ugly,” said Jane, “but please don’t tell her I said that.”

Q. When I entered an incorrect password for your website, I received this message: “Invalid Log In.” Shouldn’t “log in” be “login” in this case?

A. In a world where CMOS editors could stand with whips and chains over all the IT teams who write code for error messages for all the software packagers who supply all the websites, everything would be written consistently in Chicago style. As it is, however, CMOS editors have no such power. And quite honestly? We’re fine with that.


Chicago Manual of Style: An Overview

10 12 2012

The Chicago Manual of Style (abbreviated in writing as CMS or CMOS (the version used on its website), or verbally as Chicago) is a style guide for American English published since 1906 by the University of Chicago Press. Its sixteen editions have prescribed writing and citation styles widely used in publishing. It is “one of the most widely used and respected style guides in the United States. The CMS deals with aspects of editorial practice, from American English grammar and usage to document preparation.

What is now known as The Chicago Manual of Style was first published in 1906 under the title Manual of Style: Being a compilation of the typographical rules in force at the University of Chicago Press, to which are appended specimens of type in use (image right). From its first 203-page edition, the CMOS evolved into a comprehensive reference style guide of 1,026 pages in its 16th edition.[1] It was one of the first editorial style guides published in the United States, and it is largely responsible for research methodology standardization, notably citation style.

The most significant revision to the manual was made for the 12th edition, published in 1969. Its first printing of 20,000 copies sold out before it was printed.[2] In 1982, with the publication of the 13th edition, it was officially retitled The Chicago Manual of Style, adopting the informal name already in widespread use.

More recently, the publishers have released a new edition about every ten years. The 15th edition was revised to reflect the emergence of computer technology and the Internet in publishing, offering guidance for citing electronic works. Other changes included a chapter by Bryan A. Garner on American English grammar and usage and a revised treatment of mathematical copy.

In August 2010, the 16th edition was published simultaneously in the hardcover and online editions for the first time in the Manual’s history. In a departure from the trademark red-orange cover, the sixteenth edition featured a robin’s-egg blue dust jacket (image lower right). The latest edition features “music, foreign languages, and computer topics (such as Unicode characters and URLs)”. It also offers expanded recommendations for producing electronic publications, including web-based content and e-books. An updated appendix on production and digital technology demystifies the process of electronic workflow and offers a primer on the use of XML markup; it also included a revised glossary includes a host of terms associated with electronic and print publishing. The Chicago system of documentation is streamlined to achieve greater consistency between the author-date and notes-bibliography systems of citation, making both systems easier to use. In addition, updated and expanded examples address the many questions that arise when documenting online and digital sources, from the use of DOIs to citing social networking sites. Figures and tables are updated throughout the book, including a return to the Manual‘s popular hyphenation table and new, selective listings of Unicode numbers for special characters.

The Chicago Manual of Style is published in hardcover and online. The online edition includes the searchable text of both the 15th and 16th—its most recent—editions with features such as tools for editors, a citation guide summary, and searchable access to a Q&A, where University of Chicago Press editors answer readers’ style questions. An annual subscription is required for access to the content of the Manual. (Access to the Q&A, however, is free.)

The Chicago Manual of Style is used in some social science publications and most historical journals. It remains the basis for the Style Guide of the American Anthropological Association and the Style Sheet for the Organization of American Historians.

The Chicago Manual of Style includes chapters relevant to publishers of books and journals. It is used widely by academic and some trade publishers, as well as editors and authors who are required by those publishers to follow it.

Chicago style offers writers a choice of several different formats. It invites the mixing of formats, provided that the result is clear and consistent. For instance, the 15th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style permits the use of both in-text citation systems and/or footnotes or endnotes, including use of “content notes”; it gives information about in-text citation by page number (like MLA style) or by year of publication (like APA style); it even provides for variations in styles of footnotes and endnotes, depending on whether the paper includes a full bibliography at the end.

The Chicago Manual of Style also discusses the parts of a book and the editing process.

A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations is based on the Chicago Manual of Style.

Self Editing For Fiction Writers.

7 12 2012

A great blog post about self editing!


Some time ago, I wrote aboutWriting to Sell” by Scott Meredith and how this book made a difference in how I write. I still think it is a great book. Last week I found another book while reading a blog by David Gaughran. David recommended a book titled “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. As I took a look at the book I figured I might as well see what it had to offer so I purchased it. It arrived Saturday. I read the first chapter today. I wish I would have had this book five years ago. I wish I would have had BOTH of these books five years ago. (For additional insights, check out Dave King’s website here.) As I read today, I decided I would blog about each chapter as I go through the book. I am going to list only the…

View original post 897 more words

Reblog Week: A Half Page of Edits

4 12 2012

A truthful and humorous look at what a manuscript looks like after a good edit.

lying for a living

Just so you know what my work looks like at the moment: Here’s half a page of my manuscript for The Shadow Tracer. Lines in red are my additions to the current draft. Lines struck through in red are cuts I’ve made. Strike-throughs in blue come from my editor.

Those few black lines of text? Those are words I’ve left alone.

By the way, the manuscript currently prints out at 424 pages.

View original post

Reblog Week: A Great Post on Why To Get a Copy Edit Done!

3 12 2012

Reblog Week: A Great Post on Why To Get a Copy Edit Done!

Michelle Proulx - Author

I finished going over my copy-edit this evening. All the changes are made, the manuscript has been sent back to iUniverse so they can do God knows what with it (hopefully publish it, lol), and I officially have nothing more to do with the book until they send me cover proofs and final print proofs. Woo! Talk about a weight off your chest. Now I can focus on other things, like my job, and not living in a forest of cardboard boxes.

But you don’t care about that. You came here for the list!

9 Things I Learned From My Copy-Edit

1. The first paragraph at the start of a chapter is not indented. The same goes for the first paragraph after a scene break.

2. According to American publishing standard, when indicating possession, this — Chris’ — is not correct. This — Chris’s — is correct.

3. A list…

View original post 335 more words

Professional Book Editing Services Starting at $199.99

28 11 2012

Every writer needs a professional editor. Charles Henry Editing is offering professional book editing starting at $199.99!

Book Copy Editing:  $199.99

Copy Editing makes the copy clear, concise, comprehensible and consistent. It involves correcting spelling, terminology, punctuation, grammatical, semantic, and factual errors

Book Content Editing (substantive editing):  $199.99

Content Editing analyzes the broader story elements such as organization, plot, character development, and structure.

Book Proofreading: $199.99.

Proofreading includes checking for typographical, spelling, and formatting errors using standard proof marks set forth by the Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition.

Want a to get more than one service at a low price? Check out our package deals!

Author’s Delight (Best for submitting to traditional publishers)

Services include: content editing, copy editing, and proofreading.

  • 50,000 words and Under: $299.99
  • 50,001 to 100,000 words: $399.99
  • 100,001 words and Up: $499.99

Publication Ready (Best for self publishers)

Services include: content editing, copy editing, proofreading, formatting; creating front matter, and creating back matter.

  • 50,000 words and Under: $599.99
  • 50,001 to 100,000 words: $799.99
  • 100,001 words and Up: $999.99

Go to http://www.charleshenryeditingblog or http://www.charleshenryediting.com to learn more about services provided by Charles Henry Editing. Email Carolyn Elias at carolyn@charleshenryediting.com to get started on the professional edit of your book!

Copy Editing: The Nitty, Gritty, Checklist.

25 11 2012

Copy editing is more than just commas and semicolons. If you want to copy edit like a professional, go through the list below. Warning: this is not for the faint of heart. 🙂


  1. Sentences are clear, direct, and concise.
  2. Repetition is used effectively.
  3. Parallel structure is used effectively.


  1. Heads, lists, and sentences have parallel construction.
  2. Headings follow hierarchy guidelines.
  3. Voice and tone are consistent.


  • Text is easy to follow.
  • Information is complete and appropriately placed.
  • Transitions between parts, chapters, and sections are clear.
  • Transitions are effective on screen and on paper.
  • Cross-references are correct, worthwhile, and sufficient.


  • Sentences are complete.
  • Subjects and verbs, and pronouns and antecedents agree.
  • Verb tense is consistent.
  • Modifiers are used appropriately.
  • Word choice and sentence structure follow guidelines for localization.
  • Long sentences are divided for readability and localization.

Punctuation, Capitalization, and Spelling

  • Punctuation follows editorial and documentation set guidelines.
  • Capitalization is consistent and follows editorial and documentation set guidelines.
  • Spelling is consistent and follows editorial and documentation set guidelines.


  • Typeface conventions are followed in all book elements.
  • Product names are used correctly and consistently.
  • Trademarks are used correctly.
  • New terms are defined and appear in a glossary, if there is one.
  • Abbreviations and acronyms follow editorial and localization guidelines.
  • Numbers and symbols follow editorial and localization guidelines.
  • Cross-references are punctuated correctly and refer to the intended target.
  • Numbered lists and steps are used appropriately and are numbered correctly.
  • Figures and tables are referred to in preceding text.
  • Table continuations are noted correctly.
  • Notes, Cautions, and Warnings are used correctly.
  • Jump tables are used correctly.
  • Footnotes are used correctly.
  • Running footers and page numbers are correct.

Formatting and Layout

  • Book conforms to company publications standards.
  • Standard templates and formats are used.
  • Page breaks and line breaks are effective.


  • Graphics are consistent throughout the book.
  • Illustrations follow artwork and localization guidelines.
  • Figure callouts are capitalized correctly and are in the correct font.

Front Matter

  • Title page has correct title, part number, and revision number.
  • Credits page is current and trademarks (including third-party trademarks) are listed.
  • Table of contents includes correct heads and is formatted correctly.
  • Figures and tables are listed in the table of contents.
  • The preface uses the correct template and contains correct chapter numbers, titles, and descriptions.
  • The typographical conventions section within the preface is current.
  • Page numbers at the bottom of the pages are correct.

Back Matter

  • Appendixes are in the correct order.
  • Templates and formats are used correctly in appendixes and glossaries.
  • Bibliography is presented correctly.
  • Glossary terms are alphabetized, appropriate for audience, and defined clearly.
  • Index is complete, double-posted effectively, and formatted correctly.
  • Page numbers are correct.

Whew! If you want a professional copy editor to polish your book or article email Carolyn Elias at carolyn@charleshenryediting.com.

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

The Commonzense of Saint James

“The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.” Pema Chodron


Fun Learning Resouces for Kids

Author Charmaine Gordon

Stories of Women Who Survive... and Thrive

Malcolm's Round Table

The real when closely observed becomes magical.

melinda clayton

Reading, Writing, and Random Thoughts


Pre-publishing Services for eBooks and Print Publications

Zafar Anjum

Writer, publisher, filmmaker & entrepreneur I If you don't look for risk, risk will find you.

Angela M. Shupe

Bella Verita: Beautiful Truth

Cats With Thumbs

Literary Scratching Post and Blogzine :: ISSN 2152-6753

P. J. Casselman

An Autistic Author Addressing Associates

M C Raj Author

Official Website of M C Raj

Rachael J. Thorne

We all have our dreams



The Plain Wife by Aimee Jones

My humble offerings as a small town Facebook enthusiast and aspiring novelist from the golden plains of Oklahoma.

Rachel Tsoumbakos

Rachel Tsoumbakos is the author of historical fiction, contemporary horror and paranormal romance fiction