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Q. Our department’s editorial manual includes a list of cities in the United States and other countries that can be referred to in display type or running text without giving the state or country designation. This list has apparently been in use for many years, but none of our current staff can be sure of its source! Does CMOS include an authoritative list of these cities?
A. We don’t have such a list; rather, we rely entirely on editorial judgment. Can Paris stand alone? Usually, but not in an article about Paris, Texas. Can Rome stand alone? Usually. Chicago? Of course: nobody even knows for certain what “Chicago” means, and few have been tempted to copy it. But your departmental list is a great idea. Whereas we do not feel that our manual can speak definitively to the entire English-speaking world on this issue, a single department or publication can gain efficiency by agreeing on specific guidelines.