Chicago Style Workout 13:
Permissible Changes to Quotations


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Although in a direct quotation from a source the wording should be reproduced exactly, certain changes to punctuation, capitalization, and spelling are generally allowed when needed to make a passage fit into the syntax and typography of the surrounding text.

This month’s workout centers on section 13.7 of The Chicago Manual of Style, “Permissible Changes to Punctuation, Capitalization, and Spelling.” Of course, any change to a quotation of someone else’s work must be made with extreme care. Even advanced editors might wish to take a look at section 13.7 of CMOS before answering the questions.

(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.)

Note: These questions are designed to test knowledge of The Chicago Manual of Style. Other style guides may have different rules and guidelines.

Chicago Style Workout 13: Permissible Changes to Quotations (CMOS 13.7)

1. Quotations from sources should be edited for consistency in spelling, hyphenation, and capitalization so that they are consistent with the main text.
a.  
b.  
2. Single quotation marks may be changed to double, and double to single, to accommodate quotes within quotes.
a.  
b.  
3. The initial letter of a quotation may be changed to uppercase or lowercase.
a.  
b.  
4. The final period of a quoted passage may be omitted or changed to a comma if required to fit into the sentence containing the quotation.
a.  
b.  
5. In older works, idiosyncrasies of spelling are generally preserved.
a.  
b.  
6. Original note reference marks (and the notes to which they refer) may be omitted unless omission would affect the meaning of the quotation.
a.  
b.  
7. Authors may add note references of their own within quotations.
a.  
b.  
8. Typographic errors in the original source must be preserved in a quotation.
a.  
b.  
9. Spelling and punctuation may be modernized or altered for clarity if readers are informed in a note, in a preface, or elsewhere.
a.  
b.  
10. Quoted passages from works containing archaic spellings and odd punctuation may be quietly modernized for readability.
a.  
b.  

 

Photo: Miss Susanne Lenglen [photographer unknown], George Arents Collection, New York Public Library. New York Public Library Digital Collections, accessed February 16, 2017.

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