For this month’s quiz we return to the subject of capitalization—specifically, the names and terms covered in chapter 8 of CMOS. In general, proper nouns are capitalized, whereas terms derived from or associated with them may not be, depending on context and other factors.
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.
A “the” at the beginning of a word or phrase that would normally be capitalized—including the name of an organization or the title of a work—presents a dilemma. When is the “the” capitalized? In Chicago style, the answer comes down to a few rules that can help you decide in each case.
Over the last year and a half (beginning in April 2021), Microsoft has been rolling out its “modern comments” to Word 365 users on both Windows and Mac platforms. If you use Word, and unless you have your updates turned off, there’s a good chance you have them by now, or will soon.
Q. Would you add a comma before the quotation marks in the following sentences?
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.
In the writers’ groups where I hang out online, these queries are evergreen: How do I know if I need a copyeditor before I submit my work to an agent or editor? How do I find a good copyeditor? How much does copyediting cost?
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.
Most editors encounter at least the occasional symbol in the documents they edit, so it’s good to know a little bit about them. Thanks to Unicode, it’s easy to find out a symbol’s name—which can help you figure out whether it’s the right one in the right context.
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.
Earlier this year, Fiction+ considered whether a novel should have a table of contents. Although it might seem to be a matter of personal preference, there are strong practical reasons for including or not including a TOC, depending on a book’s genre and format.