Like all professional copyeditors, I try to keep up with news in my field, which means browsing the posts and articles of editors, grammarians, linguists, and lexicographers online. I do this both through RSS feed subscriptions—Feedly is my reader of choice—and also by bookmarking
The announcement of a new edition of The Chicago Manual of Style always prompts rejoicing—along with a few worried queries about how much the citation styles are changing. Never fear! The forthcoming 17th edition of CMOS entails few changes to our notes, bibliography, and reference list citation styles. After all, we’ve had over a hundred years to work on getting them right. Instead, the updates and revisions
It’s not always obvious whether a word should be capitalized. We know to cap proper names of people, holidays, cities, and countries. But what about words like dad, state, or president? Confusion arises when the same word is capped in one context and lowercased in another:
Since the announcement that the 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style will arrive in September, there has been a lot of buzz about some of the announced changes to the Manual. We’ll be looking closer at some of the changes over the coming weeks. First up is the pronoun they when it refers to a singular antecedent.
Yes, the rumors are true: there will be a new CMOS in September! In the seven years since the 16th edition’s debut we’ve seen large shifts in the way we read, write, edit, and do research. The 17th edition will address these changes as well as incorporate many of the suggestions and queries we’ve received over the
One of the primal joys in life is to do good work. When the suit fits, the accounts balance, or the pie crust is flakey, someone takes pride in it.
In editing, it feels good to make corrections, tidy things up, and serve the reader. It feels good to put knowledge into practice. And—admit it—it feels good to spot an error! . . . Problems arise when
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
Many quotations end with a period or comma:
“He’s gone.” She turned away.
“Indeed,” he said.
Others end with a question mark or exclamation point, in which case
Some lessons are harder to learn than others. Unfortunately for new copyeditors, sometimes the only way to recognize bad habits is to get slammed a few times by writers pushing back or by supervisors writing stet all over the copy. So let me save you some grief and humiliation! Here are three bad habits I identified the hard way as a young editor.
Do you know Chicago style for number ranges? Is it 142–3, 142–43, or 142–143? This month’s workout, “Inclusive Numbers” covers sections 9.58–63 of CMOS.