Q. I’m editing a college-level textbook. Is it proper to eliminate the titles Mr., Mrs., etc. in running text? For example, after Mary Louise Jones is first introduced, should she be “Mrs. Jones” or just “Jones” thereafter? It seems cumbersome to repeat “Mrs.” over and over, especially if she is mentioned often.
A. Chicago style omits the honorifics. There are always exceptions, but a college text can probably safely dispense with them. Once you start using titles (assuming you’re naming real people), you open a can of worms, since there’s no way to know who is a doctor or professor—much less a Mrs.—and if you are also responsible for fact-checking, that could get a little awkward.