We’re back with another Halloween quiz—this time with a dash of Chicago style sprinkled on top of the trivia. Whether you celebrate this DIY holiday or not, we hope you’ll find something here to satisfy your craving for editorial arcana.
One of the main reasons to insert a hyphen between two words that aren’t normally hyphenated is to help readers sort out the text when those words are used as a compound modifier before a noun.
The first edition of The Chicago Manual of Style was published in 1906, when horses outnumbered cars and typewriters and telephones had only recently become fixtures of the modern office. Yet the books and articles published back then weren’t all that different from the ones published today, and a lot of the advice in the original Manual still applies.
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.”
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?
Q. Would you add a comma before the quotation marks in the following sentences?
Even the most straightforward rule will be subject to an exception sooner or later. That’s why CMOS qualifies so many of its rules with usually or generally. But some exceptions are so common that they deserve to be called rules themselves.
Quotation marks, or “quotes” for short, like to work in pairs. But they’re not all the same. They can be double or single, left or right, curly or straight. Part of an editor’s job is to know which marks to use in which context—and to make sure they’ve been used consistently.