Q. I am confused why the last entry in figure 15.1 in CMOS (for De Graaf) lists the page range for the chapter at the beginning, rather than at the end, immediately before the place of publication. Is it because this sample reference list has its own house style for this kind of reference? If so, it would make more sense to me if your sample reference lists hewed to your own advice for structuring references. Maybe most readers don’t look at the examples so closely, but I find them useful sometimes. Or maybe I’m just missing something.
A. You’re not missing anything. Most of the numbered figures in CMOS reproduce examples from the real world. We do this not to illustrate strict Chicago style but rather to show how Chicago style has been applied in a variety of publications. And though we do occasionally modify a detail in a figure to conform to the applicable rule in CMOS, we leave the original in place for any departures that seem arbitrary—as in the placement of page ranges in the figure you cite or, as in figure 14.8, the use of the day-month-year date form.
It is helpful, however, to be reminded that our readers may use these examples more literally, as a way to look up a point of Chicago style. Thanks to your question and similar questions from others, we will be sure to clarify the purpose of these figures in future editions of CMOS (e.g., with captions that point out the stylistic variations)—or to provide figures that are more strictly in line with the advice and examples in the numbered paragraphs.
Q. In the world of engineering, “CMOS” is very well known to stand for “complementary metal-oxide semiconductor.” In preparing a style guide for engineering tech writers, what would be the best way to refer to The Chicago Manual of Style, other than to spell it out every time?
A. Try CMoS (lowercase o) or, better yet, Chicago. Chicago style would normally call for italics for the abbreviated and shortened forms of the title of the manual itself. But you might instead opt for Chicago in regular type—as we often do—to refer to both the style and the manual on which it is based. We at the University of Chicago Press face a similar conundrum. To refer specifically to the manual, we prefer CMOS over Chicago because, from where we sit, Chicago is likely also to refer to the publisher, the university, or the city (or, when italicized, the musical). And whereas CMS was once a favorite around here, the growth of content management systems in the 1990s compelled us to reconsider.
Q. I know that Chicago recommends the dictionaries published by Merriam-Webster, but as a writer based in Canada is it possible to opt for a dictionary of Canadian English and still be in conformity with Chicago?
A. Chicago style allows for regional variations in spelling. Unless you are writing for a publisher that expects otherwise, it’s best to choose a dictionary that matches the variety of English you are writing. For matters of spelling, that source could be any high-quality standard dictionary. At the end of CMOS 7.1, where we recommend Merriam-Webster, we also refer readers to our bibliography for additional English-language dictionaries, including the Canadian Oxford Dictionary:
Barber, Katherine, ed. Canadian Oxford Dictionary. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. https://doi.org/10.1093/acref/9780195418163.001.0001.
The Canadian Oxford includes entries for “colour,” “defence,” and “kilometre”—each of which lists, as “also” variants, the standard US spellings: “color,” “defense,” and “kilometer.” It also includes Canadian terms like “bushlot” and “First Nation,” neither of which is in Merriam-Webster.
Q. I just bought the 17th edition. Do you know where I can find out what typeface the text is set in?
A. If you turn to the very last page of text, following the index, you will see that the print edition of the Manual is composed (or typeset) in Lyon and Atlas Grotesk. Lyon, which has serifs, is used for most of the text aside from run-in paragraph subheads and certain illustrations. (The statement at the end of the book about design and production is called a colophon; see CMOS 1.67.) To complement the look of the printed book, CMOS Online (including the Q&A!) uses a version of Lyon designed for the screen.
Q. When was the Chicago style created? Thanks.
A. Thank you for your interest in Chicago style! At CMOS Online you can read about its history since the university’s founding in 1891 and the printing of the first edition of CMOS in 1906.
Q. I’m having a lively debate on Facebook with some friends about how the abbreviation CMOS is pronounced by the fine folks at UCP. Do y’all tend to say “see-moce” or “see-moze” or “see-moss” or “see-mahs”? Thanks!
A. In an in-house poll of editors, marketers, and production staff, “SEE-moss” won by a landslide, followed in an even split by “SEE-mose” and “poTAHto.”
Q. What is the difference between Garner’s Modern English Usage, Garner’s Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation, and The Chicago Manual of Style?
A. Fortunately, Bryan Garner explains in this post at the CMOS Shop Talk blog.
Q: How often is the online edition of CMOS updated?
A. Your question is frequently asked and is answered on the Manual’s FAQ page:
The editorial guidelines presented in the 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style will remain consistent throughout the life of the edition and in all formats in which the Manual is published. In other words, no changes in styles or rules will be made to the current edition, either in print or online.
Moreover, the content of the Manual online is intended to be identical to the content of the printed book. Occasionally, however, a typographical correction or other minor clarification is needed. Such errors will be corrected online as soon as they are discovered and will also be corrected in subsequent impressions of the printed book.
Q. Hello, I was sure I had read somewhere that there is a way to search the website and find CMOS 17 changes. It was just a single word or phrase that brought up things that changed. I cannot find the information or the word you used to search. Can you direct me to the correct place to find those changes?
A. Certainly! For a list of significant changes and updates go to the Help & Tools page of CMOS Online and click on “What’s New in the 17th Edition.” You can also find some changes by searching for the word departure, but since there are thousands of little edits and tweaks in the new edition, this will only be a start.
Q. Dear “My New Best Friend” (copyeditor): Is there a “Cliff
Notes” version of the Chicago Manual of Style or any quick reference type of document with the general rules?? (I have the fourteenth edition.) I do appreciate your assistance.
Long life to you as a copyeditor. P.S. I am doing a doctoral dissertation and would like to get the style correct in the beginning.
A. Yes—we hear that Cliffs is going to work on CMOS as soon as they finish with their version of the Chicago Yellow Pages. In the meantime, you might check out Kate L. Turabian’s
A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, a much smaller style guide than CMOS, especially tailored for student research projects. (Turabian will tell you how to cite all the Cliffs Notes you used for