Special Characters

Q. We’ve been having a discussion in the office about whether to continue using diacritical marks on words such as decor and applique. The arguments turn on whether we consider them to be proper English words instead of imports, due to their familiarity to English speakers and the length of time that they’ve been part of the language. We couldn’t find a place where the editors addressed this issue in CMOS. Could you give us an opinion, please?

Q. Can you tell me the CMOS preferred style for printed quotation marks: typographer’s marks or the default straight-line marks?

Q. How do I insert an ellipsis in my manuscript? My computer keyboard can do that with a couple of keystrokes. Is this acceptable? Or should I type period + space for all three dots? Should these spaces be nonbreaking spaces?

Q. What is the rule for placing accents over capital letters in Romance languages? Is it the same for French, Spanish, and Italian, or does each language have different requirements?

Q. Hello: I am preparing a manuscript that is written in English but contains many country, organization, and program names in Spanish. My client wants to delete all the accents (of course we would keep the tildes); I prefer to respect the language, but then when we write, for example, Mexico as México, it looks wrong. When is it appropriate or inappropriate to use the diacritical marks in Spanish in text that is written in English? Thank you for your time, and I promise not to abuse this service.

Q. When and how often is it appropriate to use the slash (/) character that delineates terms of similar meaning?

Q. An ellipsis is defined by three dots. Is there a particular reason that it is limited to three dots? I am looking to understand what the ellipsis signifies!

Q. My question has to do with the direction of an apostrophe at the beginning of shortened versions of longer words. For example, “’zine” for “magazine” or “’cause” for “because.” In transcribed interviews, I sometimes run into this. Should the apostrophe close toward the word or away from it? Thanks.

Q. Is there a standard for replacing an expletive with special $%!# characters?

Q. I am editing a first-edition ecology textbook, which uses both footnotes in tables and variables in equations. In the first chapter, the author italicized the variables, and I added italic to the footnote superscripts. However, a subsequent chapter (written by a different author) does not use italics in equation variables set in text or their subscripts. In situations such as this, is it my responsibility to set a style, or should I follow the author’s style? I find that these contradictory situations occur with regard to hyphenations and such as well. Please help me put an end to this type of confusion!