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.”
“The full names of administrative bodies are capitalized. Adjectives derived from them are usually lowercased, as are many of the generic names for such bodies when used alone . . .
The general rule referenced by this section comes from 7.15. You’re likely already familiar with the basics: “The possessive of most singular nouns is formed by adding an apostrophe and an s . . .