Chicago Manual of Style
*This abbreviated version of the Chicago Manual of Style was provided to me by RJ Communications when they published my first book. It will help you, as a writer, get your manuscript ready for the editing process. The more you do before submitting your manuscript, the quicker the editing is finished. At a given point, however, you should just go ahead and submit. Eventually you won't see the forest for the trees. A professional editor will see details you can no longer detect.
RJC STYLE SHEET
Editing Authorities [These books contain the editing and style rules applied to the manuscript]
§ Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. 11th ed. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 2003.
§ University of Chicago Press. The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.Use the Chicago Manual of Style preference for all instances not noted on this style sheet.
Dates and Numbers [These rules apply to the format and style of numbers as they appear in the manuscript]
§ April 2, 1977 (use a comma before and after the year in
§ 1977–99 (abbreviate year numbers according to the table at
§ Spell out whole numbers one through one hundred.
§ Round numbers greater than one hundred should also be spelled out.
§ Any number beginning a sentence should be spelled out. (Chicago 9.3)
§ Century should be spelled out and lowercase. For example,
the twenty-first century, the eighth century, and the ninth
century all follow these rules (See CMS9.36).
§ “Where many numbers occur within a paragraph or series of paragraphs, maintain consistency in the immediate context. If according to rule you must use numbers for one of the numbers in a given category, use them for all in that category. In the same sentence or paragraph, however, items in one category may be given as numerals and items in another spelled out.” (Chicago 9.7)
§ Hyphenate the “tens” and “ones” place in combination numbers (e.g., “the one hundred and thirty-seven-year tradition”)
§ Use hyphens to separate the digits in a telephone numbero (e.g., 1-###-###-####, 1-800-555-1234)
Formatting [These rules apply to the use of formatting (e.g., italics, bold, etc.) of specific words in the manuscript]
§ “[u]se italics for emphasis only as an occasional adjunct to efficient sentence structure” (Chicago 7.49).
§ “Capitalizing an entire word or phrase for emphasis is rarely appropriate. If capitals are wanted—in dialogue or in representing newspaper headlines, for example—small caps rather than full capitals look more graceful” (Chicago 7.50).
§ Use small caps without periods for am and pm (e.g., We ate at 6 pm.).
§ Do not capitalize offices or titles unless used as part of a proper noun (i.e., R. B. Hayes was the 19th president. but President R. B. Hayes lost the popular vote.).
§ Italicize titles of books, newspapers, and periodicals.
§ Capitalize personifications (e.g., Mother Rome).
§ Straight quotation marks are not acceptable substitutions for traditional quotation marks. When straight quotes appear, please exchange them with “curly” quotes.
§ When items are bulleted or numbered in the text, they should begin with a capital letter.
§ According to Chicago Manual of Style 11.44, “Words such as yes, no, where, how, and why, when used singly are not enclosed in quotation marks except in direct discourse.”
§ Em and en dashes do not have any spaces around them. They run flush to the text on both sides
Punctuation [These are the methods by which special cases in the manuscript ought to punctuated]
§ Ellipsis points: use Microsoft Word’s ellipsis character (created by holding the ctrl + alt + the period key) to represent omitted text in the middle of a sentence. If the omitted material appears immediately after a complete sentence, use a period followed by Microsoft’s Word’s ellipsis character.
§ Use Microsoft Word’s ellipsis character to indicate broken, stuttered, faltering, or interrupted dialogue (Chicago 11.45). This rule applies also to incomplete sentences.
§ “Ellipses points are normally not used (1) before the first word of a quotation, even if the beginning of the original sentence has been omitted; or (2) after the last word of a quotations, even if the end of the original sentence has been omitted, unless the sentence is deliberately quoted incomplete (see 11.59). For exceptions, see 11.65” (Chicago 11.54).
§ Use serial comma (a, b, and c) (Chicago 6.19).
§ Before and after the name of a state that is preceded by the city, if it occurs in the middle of a sentence (e.g., One thing and one thing only put South Elgin, Illinois, on the map.). The exception to this is WashingtonDC. We don’t use the periods in the abbreviation, so there should be no comma.
§ “When independent clauses are joined by and, but, or, so, yet, or any other [coordinating] conjunction, a comma usually precedes the conjunction. If the clauses are short and closely connected, the comma may be omitted” (Chicago 6.32). For example, “I went to the store, and I bought a gallon of milk.” “I went to the store,” and “I bought a gallon of milk” are independent clauses, clauses that could stand as individual sentences that have been combined through a conjunction.
§ “When a colon is used within a sentence…the first word following the colon is lowercased unless it is a proper name. When a colon introduces two or more sentences…or when it introduces a speech in dialogue or an extract…the first word following it is capitalized” (CMS 6.64).
§ Hyphenate adverb + adjective compounds before, but not after, the nouns they modify. (e.g., much-loved woman, the woman was much loved) Compounds with most and least are usually open (Chicago 7.90).
§ Hyphenated adjectival compounds that appear in Merriam-Webster should be spelled with a hyphen when they follow a noun. (e.g., Your point is well-taken.)
Grammar [These grammar rules have primarily been extracted from the Editing Authorities cited above]
§ Use nor with neither.
§ “Introductory phrase with comma. An adverbial or participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence is usually followed by a comma, especially if a slight pause is intended. A single word or a very short introductory phrase does not require a comma except to avoid misreading. After reading the note, Henrietta turned pale. On the other hand, his vices could be considered virtues. On Tuesday he tried to see the mayor. Before eating, the members of the committee met in the assembly room.” (Chicago 6.25).
Acronyms and Abbreviations
§ U.S. (United States)
§ For all other abbreviations, use periods between the letters of a lowercased abbreviations, use no period between the letters of an abbreviation in full or small caps.
§ Use i.e. and e.g. only between parentheses, set roman, and followed by a comma
Word Consistency List [This section ensures the consistent spelling and usage of words throughout the text]
§ Refer to characters with consistent names.
§ Capitalize brand names (e.g., Popsicle, Kleenex, Kool-Aid, Percocet).
§ Use American English (e.g., criticize not criticise) unless British English has been consistently used throughout.
§ When Merriam-Webster lists multiple spellings of a single word, the topmost spelling should be used (e.g., judgment not judgement).
§ “Pronouns referring to God or Jesus are not capitalized. (Note that they are lowercased in most English translations of the Bible.)” Chicago 8.102
Alphabetized list [Words that require an editorial decision are listed alphabetically here for consistency]
(Add to this list with appropriate words from the text.)
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*All professional book editors are familiar with the Chicago Manual of Style. However, it is not the only guideline professional book editors use. It can depend on the type book you are publishing, from fiction to educational books, non-fiction to how-to manuals.
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Updated August 24, 2015