Most writers and editors know that it’s OK to (occasionally and judiciously) split an infinitive. We also know that, barring a more graceful alternative, a sentence-ending preposition is nothing to get upset about.
Even writers and editors who work with nontechnical documents will encounter the occasional abbreviated unit of measure or other abbreviation from the sciences. Knowing some basic conventions about such expressions will help you spot potential errors.
Most writers and editors who work in English will encounter at least the occasional word or phrase from another language. To spot potential problems, it’s a good idea to know some of the conventions of the more commonly used languages, the subject of chapter 11 in CMOS.
In Chicago’s default style for numbers, whole numbers under 101 are usually spelled out, as in three or ninety-three. Chicago’s alternative rule spells out numbers up to and including nine. But some expressions always call for numerals (July 2, page 9), and in scientific and technical contexts, numerals (also called digits) are the norm.
The first edition of The Chicago Manual of Style was published in 1906, when horses outnumbered cars and typewriters and telephones had only recently become fixtures of the modern office. Yet the books and articles published back then weren’t all that different from the ones published today, and a lot of the advice in the original Manual still applies.
When it comes to putting words together, the difference between correct and incorrect—or standard and nonstandard—can be subtle. For this month’s workout, we dip back into chapter 5, which covers grammar.
Chicago-style source citations are designed to be both concise and informative. Ideally, readers should be able to tell what a citation refers to despite its abbreviated nature.
A kinship name is a name for a family member, whether close or distant. Such names include mom, dad, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, and so on.
From the blank page to the gaps between words, space is central to what writers and editors do every day. But just because space is empty doesn’t mean there’s nothing there.
Latin may be a dead language, but many of its words and phrases flourish in modern English. The most common Latin borrowing might be an abbreviation: the all-purpose etc., short for et cetera, “and others of the same kind.”
If you’ve ever written or edited an article or book on a scholarly subject, you probably know your e.g. from your i.e. and ibid. But especially if you spend time with older sources, you’re likely to encounter some abbreviations that haven’t entered the vernacular.