Usage and Grammar

Q. The author I’m editing has a fondness for making titles syntactic parts of his sentences, e.g., “the chapter on ‘Deconstructing Derrida’ takes up the challenge” and “a final essay too readily excoriating those figures she believes to be ‘Tolerating the Intolerable.’ ” Being confident that CMOS and other style manuals don’t approve of this practice, I’ve been recasting the offending sentences. Nonetheless, I’d like to be able to cite the relevant CMOS section (which I’m almost sure I’ve come across before) in a note to the author to bestow authority upon what may strike him as capricious and unnecessary changes. But for some reason, unfortunately (not, I hope, because I’ve simply dreamed up the idea that there’s a problem in these sorts of constructions), I can’t find that relevant section. Please tell me it exists and point me to it.

A. Pinch yourself—it’s true! Please see CMOS 8.172: “The title of a work should not be used to stand for the subject of a work.”