Chicago Style Workout 2: Commas with Introductory Words and Phrases

Exercise with GloriaAre you ready to work out?

If you need to know The Chicago Manual of Style for your job—or to get a job—it’s a good idea to flex your editing muscles in close engagement with the Manual itself.

Chicago Style Workout 2, “Commas with Introductory Words and Phrases,” centers on sections 6.35–6.39 of CMOS 16. Advanced editors might tackle the exercises cold; learners can study the related sections of the Manual before answering the questions. (Tip: You can review section 6.38 in this “Section in the Spotlight” post.)

Subscribers to The Chicago Manual of Style Online may click through to the linked sections of the Manual. (For a 30-day free trial of CMOS Online, click here.)

Remember: The workouts are all about Chicago! If you’re an expert in MLA, AP, or New York Times style, you might be surprised to find that your instincts don’t quite match Chicago’s. That doesn’t mean that your answer is necessarily “wrong”—it just means it isn’t Chicago style.

[Editor’s update: These styles did not change in the 17th edition, although their section numbers may have changed.]

Chicago Style Workout 2: Commas with Introductory Words and Phrases (CMOS 6.35–6.39)

Note: These questions are designed to test knowledge of The Chicago Manual of Style. Other style guides may have different rules and guidelines. The first five items are true/false statements, and the last five ask you to judge whether the example does or does not follow Chicago style.

1. An introductory participial phrase should be set off by a comma unless the sentence is inverted and the phrase immediately precedes the verb.
a.  
b.  
2. An introductory adverbial phrase should always be set off by a comma.
a.  
b.  
3. No comma follows vocative oh {Oh brother!} or the poetic, archaic O {O Death, where is thy sting?}.
a.  
b.  
4. A comma usually follows an exclamatory oh or ah {Oh, you’re right!} unless it is followed by an exclamation mark or forms part of a phrase {oh boy}{ah yes}.
a.  
b.  
5. A comma is used to set off names or words used in direct address.
a.  
b.  
6. Yes, that’s my real hair.
a.  
b.  
7. Before eating, the members of the committee met in the assembly room.
a.  
b.  
8. Running along behind the wagon, was the archduke himself!
a.  
b.  
9. After 1956, such complaints about poor fidelity became far less common.
a.  
b.  
10. “O wild West Wind . . .”
a.  
b.  

 

Chicago Style Workout 1:
Series and the Serial Comma

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P.S. We welcome discussion! Please use the comments feature below.
(Spoiler alert: commenters may discuss the workout and their answers!)

 

Photo: Exercise with Gloria, ©Kevin Dooley

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31 thoughts on “Chicago Style Workout 2: Commas with Introductory Words and Phrases

  1. Both answers to #9 are correct. But are they? If you leave out the comma after 1956, it’s easy to misread the date as the number of “such complaints”:

    After 1956 such complaints about poor fidelity … .

    • Rebecca, you are right— and no one here noticed that! Technically, in Chicago style the number would have a comma (1,956), but it doesn’t change your point.

    • The number of complaints would be written as 1,956. Though I agree that other circumstances can and do result in initial misreadings that require a second look.

      • Now where was Chicago Manual’s reply when I read this the first time, two minutes ago? I look like a ninny. (Or a cheater!)

  2. Thanks for allowing me to take the test without having to sign-up, log-in and provide a password!

  3. That one was much harder than the last one. I cribbed from CMOS online, though, so I got 100%. Thank goodness these are unlikely to be life-and-death questions out there in the world where I can’t look up the answer when I feel uncertain.

  4. I have filled out the test and completed the captcha. Now how do I submit it? The ‘return’ doesn’t do anything. There is no box to click on. ??

      • There is no submit button. Having found myself redoing the captcha test, which for some reason is very difficult for me to get through, the only button that appears, and reappears, is the try again button. And that, of course, forces me to try again.

  5. Everything posted fine, maybe because I finished this well after everyone else. Thanks for the quiz–my CMS 6.xxx section is getting a little dog-eared from all the workout.

    • Joan, we’re very sorry – you should be able to take the quiz and see the results now. Thanks for trying!

  6. I’ve tried three times and gotten the same error message. Yes I filled out the Captcha. There’s lots of Captchas and I often have trouble with this style.

    • Anonymous, thanks for letting us know. Did you get the error message after filling in the “Captcha”? If not, please try again and let us know if you’re successful!

    • Rebecca, we’re sorry for this glitch! Did you remember to fill in the “Captcha” form before clicking Submit? We just tested the quiz, and it seems to be working fine.

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