Frequently, writers to the “Chicago Style Q&A” express the belief that when an abbreviation is introduced in a document, it must be introduced once and once only (when the term first appears) and that thereafter the spelled-out term must never be used again.
Readers might well wonder what use people have today for handwritten proofreading marks, but in publishing, the marks are still widely used. Although writers and editors checking typeset pages sometimes use PDF markup tools, there are plenty of times when it’s faster and easier to mark with a pencil.
How many times have you wavered over putting hyphens into an expression that combines numbers with some kind of measure? Is the child six-years-old or six years old?
“Oozing slowly across the floor, Marvin watched the salad dressing.” “I smelled the oysters coming down the stairs for dinner.” Most of us don’t have to worry about overlooking gaffes as obvious as these, but more subtle danglers—or misplaced modifiers—sometimes sneak by even the most careful
When putting items into alphabetical order, which comes first: Albert the Great or Albert of Saxony? HMD or H&N?
CMOS receives regular queries from readers asking whether greetings like “Hi, Elsa” really need that comma. Especially in e-mail messages, we hear, it looks fussy. And it takes so long to type!
A good rule of thumb is that changes to quotations are not permitted, period. So much is at stake when we present the words of someone else, whether spoken or written, and responsibility lies with the quoter to render what was said accurately and in a fair context. The actual wording of the quotation must be reproduced exactly. Yet CMOS 13.7 lists half a dozen things that are OK to change when quoting.
Many writers to The Chicago Manual of Style Online Q&A ask how to format lists, and two questions are especially popular:
As a writer or editor, how many times have you heard “The main thing is to be consistent”? When it comes to hyphenating, capitalizing, italicizing, and other style choices, the best way to carry through on consistency is to keep a style sheet.
There is a part of CMOS 7.75 that continues to trouble readers, probably because it is an exception to the general rule (stated at 6.9) that “periods and commas precede closing quotation marks, whether double or single.”