Chicago Style Workout 7: Rules for Quoting

standing on headLimber Up!

This month’s workout, “Rules for Quoting,” centers on sections 13.7–8 of CMOS 16. Advanced editors might tackle the questions cold; learners can study those sections of the Manual before answering the questions.

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.

(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.)

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

Chicago Style Workout 7: Rules for Quoting (CMOS 13.7–8)

Since this workout concerns quoting, we’ll need some original text to quote. For questions 6–10, use this passage from But Can I Start a Sentence with “But”? Advice from the Chicago Style Q&A:

So much of editing goes beyond merely applying rules. It requires judgment. “Correctness” is taken for granted as a goal—but correctness according to whom? What’s correct in a legal document might be a big mistake in a graphic novel or blog post. For good reason, writers live in fear of overzealous copyeditors who, in search of correctness, will edit the life and voice right out of their work.

Correctness can be especially elusive when dictionaries, style guides, and usage manuals disagree. There is more general agreement on matters of grammar than on matters of style, such as punctuation, hyphenation, capitalization, or abbreviation. In style matters, there are often competing options, all acceptable. And when personal preferences come into play—when my “correct” is your “ick”—style choices can get tricky.1

Note: The first five questions are true/false statements based on the guidelines at CMOS 13.7–8; the last five ask you to judge whether the book excerpt above has been quoted correctly according to Chicago style.

1. When quoting a full sentence, you may change the final period to a comma to make it fit into your sentence.
a.  
b.  
2. Obvious typographic errors in quotations may be corrected silently (without comment or sic).
a.  
b.  
3. The initial capital letter of a sentence in the original must be preserved in the quotation, regardless of syntax.
a.  
b.  
4. Single quotation marks in the original quotation may be changed to double, and double to single, to fit the quoting text.
a.  
b.  
5. Words in full capitals in the original may be set in small caps when quoted.
a.  
b.  
6. {Does the book actually mention “overzealous copyeditors” who are “in search of correctness”?}
a.  
b.  
7. {‘And when my “correct” is your “ick”—style choices can get tricky.’}
a.  
b.  
8. {“In style matters, there are often competing options, all acceptable,” according to this book.}
a.  
b.  
9. {I like the point that “what’s correct in a legal document” isn’t necessarily correct elsewhere.}
a.  
b.  
10. {“There is more general agreement on matters of grammar than on matters of style.”}
a.  
b.  

 

Previous Chicago Style Workouts

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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!)

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1. Can I Start a Sentence with “But”? Advice from the Chicago Style Q&A (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), 1.

Photo: CWA Recreation & Leisure Time, Calisthenics and Tumbling Instructions for Children; Minnesota, from Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs, National Archives Identifier: Collection: FDR-PHOCO, 196019; NAIL control NLR-PHOCO-A-59213(36).

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One thought on “Chicago Style Workout 7: Rules for Quoting

  1. Q3: I look on changing the initial capital to lower case as altering what the author wrote, and thus I answered that it was not allowed. I still think so.
    Q5: I see the sense of your answer, but I don’t think I’d do that even so. To my eye it would look funny.

    And on an unrelated note, something I’ve asked before, when are you folks going to admit that CMOS stands for “Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor”? Reading your prose is maddening for an engineer, one keeps having to stop and translate–“That doesn’t make any sense, what does CMOS have to do with writing style? Oh wait, they aren’t talking about transistors here, they mean ‘Chicago Manual of Style.'”

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