Q. Hello, Chicago. I’m having a heck of a time with this one. Yes, I’m probably overanalyzing it, but . . . Chicago says to lowercase hell and heaven except in a purely religious context. I’m editing a romantic novel where the author makes several references to hell. I’m second-guessing myself on when to cap it. In an expression like “no way in hell,” I’d lowercase it. But in the next sentence, the heroine thinks she’s going to Hell. And what about words like hell-bound? Thanks.
A. By “purely religious context,” CMOS means “in a religious publication,” since readers of such publications may be offended by lowercasing. I’m guessing that this novel is not a religious publication. Lowercasing throughout should be fine.