Q. Hello style gurus—I’m editing a historical monograph. The author and I are trying to figure out if he should bracket the first letter of quotations if he changes capitalization. For example, “[T]he judge said” versus “the judge said.” I’ve looked at CMOS 13.21, but we’re not sure if that applies in a historical monograph. How can you tell if it’s obligatory or not? Thanks so much!

A. The brackets are obligatory only if the capitalization is part of the subject under discussion, which is rare outside of legal or textual criticism documents. Please read further at CMOS 13.18–21.