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.
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.
Many of us who write or edit for a living spend a lot of time in a word processor, typically either Microsoft Word or Google Docs (or both). It’s only natural, then, that we know a lot about these programs. But it’s always good to brush up on the basics.
For this month’s quiz we return to the subject of capitalization—specifically, the names and terms covered in chapter 8 of CMOS. In general, proper nouns are capitalized, whereas terms derived from or associated with them may not be, depending on context and other factors.
Coordinating conjunctions join pairs of words, phrases, or clauses, but when such a conjunction is interrupted by an intervening phrase or clause, it can be difficult to know where to put the commas. This is especially true when the conjunction joins the parts of a compound sentence.
If you’ve ever had to learn how to use commas with relative clauses—especially clauses introduced by which or that—you may have also encountered the word restrictive and its opposite, nonrestrictive. What do those two words mean, and what do they have to do with commas?
When you read a book that includes source citations, do you prefer footnotes or endnotes? Publishers usually assume that the average reader will prefer endnotes, on the principle that they’re less distracting than footnotes.