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.
There’s more to nouns than people, places, and things. Some nouns are countable, and some are not. Most nouns are common, but some are proper. There are mass nouns and collective nouns, attributive nouns and nouns that can function as verbs. Some even take on adverbial roles.
Verb tenses are all about establishing the time that something happened: past, present, or future. They can also specify whether an action has been completed or is ongoing.
Ellen Jovin is a cofounder of Syntaxis, a communication skills training firm based in New York City. The author of several books for business professionals, she has a BA in German studies from Harvard and an MA in comparative literature from UCLA.
This month’s quiz focuses on the specialized terms that editors and proofreaders and other publishing pros use to communicate with each other. Because authors are also involved in the publication process, they too may need to know what these expressions mean.
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.”
It hasn’t reflected publishing standards since the Jazz Age. And it isn’t Chicago style. But some people continue to do it in their own documents—from manuscripts to emails. You’ll even see it occasionally on social media.
Switching to italics for the occasional word or phrase borrowed from another language—and not listed in a standard English-language dictionary—can be helpful to readers.
On a scale of 1 to 10, can you guess how big a stickler you are? (Your friends and colleagues probably can.) Just for fun, measure your peeving profile with this quiz.
The University of Chicago Press is pleased to announce that Russell Harper will become editor of the “Chicago Style Q&A” at CMOS Online and editor of the CMOS Shop Talk blog beginning January 1, 2019. Harper has