What is Chicago style?

For students, using “Chicago style” usually means putting notes and bibliographies into the formats laid out in The Chicago Manual of Style or in Kate Turabian’s Manual for Writers. For advanced students and professional writers, it can also mean following Chicago’s rules for capitalizing and punctuation, for setting up tables and writing figure captions or lists, and for managing almost any other aspect of writing almost any kind of document.

Turabian has been the gold standard for generations of college and graduate students in virtually all academic disciplines. Smaller and easier to use than the Chicago Manual of Style, it focuses on the entire process of writing a paper, guiding the reader through finding and researching a topic, planning, writing, citing sources, and every other step on the way to successful completion of a class paper, thesis, or dissertation.

For professional writers and editors, the Chicago Manual is much more than a citation guide. Its advice spans the entire writing and publishing process, including grammar and punctuation, preparation of images and tables and indexes, permissions, and so on. CMOS has been around for more than a hundred years and is used by colleges, universities, and companies all over the world.

The citation styles in both books are nearly identical; small differences reflect the fact that most student papers are not intended for publication.

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#ChicagoStyle: Many school libraries provide free access to The Chicago Manual of Style Online. If you aren’t sure whether your school subscribes, ask your librarian. In the meantime, click here for a free trial.

#ChicagoStyle for students: Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations is a smaller version of The Chicago Manual of Style written specifically for students. 

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