Few people will accept that up means down simply because you say so in writing, not even if you’re perfectly consistent about it. Still, when it comes to editorial principles, consistency is second only to being right.
In manuscripts of yore (centuries ago), the text would appear in one huge unbroken block. At some point breaks in thought or theme came to be indicated in the line of text with marks of various kinds, which in late medieval times included a pilcrow (¶), essentially the same symbol your word processor hides at the end of a paragraph in your documents today.
From public domain and “all rights reserved” to fair use and permissions, many of the basic principles of copyright will be familiar to those of us who work with words. But anyone can use a refresher.
There are a few simple conventions for presenting thoughts in fiction, and these overlap with the conventions for setting off dialogue and other quoted speech or text—or anything that might normally take quotation marks.
Anyone familiar with the grammar and style rules and guidelines in CMOS knows they come with a lot of qualifiers: normally, in most cases, in running text, in regular prose, depending on the context—I could go on and on. In life, very few rules are meant to cover every situation. The same is true in CMOS.
How definite is your knowledge of articles? Find out by taking this month’s quiz, which will test your knowledge of paragraphs 5.70–78 of CMOS 17, on articles, a small but essential trio of adjectives. (We’ll also be taking a brief detour into chapter 8 and titles of works.)
The seventeenth edition of CMOS was the first edition to rule explicitly on whether “too” in the adverbial sense of “also” should be set off by commas. The rule applies also to “either,” which as an adverb can play a similar role in a sentence or clause.
Everyone makes mistakes, but if you goof online at your author website or in social media, the potential for ruin these days is downright scary. That doesn’t mean you should hide in fear or shame.
Ready for more action? This month’s workout, “Verbs, Part 2,” focuses on paragraphs 5.117–43 of CMOS 17, which cover mood, tense, number, and other useful concepts.
In light of recent announcements elsewhere in publishing, many of our readers have been asking us whether we continue to recommend lowercase for terms such as black and white to refer to a person’s race or ethnicity, “unless a particular author or publisher prefers otherwise.”