Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading
Q. Dear CMOS editors: Some colleagues are having a debate over whether an author’s personal life story written in third person should be considered an autobiography or a biography. The manuscript’s classification will drive decisions about including documentation in the work. Your help with this issue will be greatly appreciated.
Q. Dear CMOS, in one of the articles I’m editing, the authors have a list of documents, where each document title is followed by a descriptive phrase. The title and phrase are separated by a colon. (1) Should the first word in the phrase be lowercase? The authors tend to capitalize it, but I think it should be lowercase (unless it’s a proper noun). (2) Would it be more appropriate to use an em dash instead of a colon? Here’s an example:
Guide: Step-by-step instructions to fill out
Best Practices: Frequently asked questions about best practices
Dedicated Observations: Information on dedicated background exposures
Q. OK, so the one-space-between-sentences debate has been beaten to death. However, are there any instances where putting two spaces between two things is appropriate?
Q. When the publication date appearing at the top of the copyright page (identical with the copyright) differs from the date appearing in the Cataloging-in-Publication (CIP) data at the bottom of the page, which is preferable to use for purposes of documentation? I have found that the CIP date is often, or at least occasionally, one year earlier than the publication date appearing as copyright (e.g., 2011 and 2012).
Q. For a dissertation being submitted for defense should block quotes be double or single spaced? There seems to be some disagreement on this point between different writing centers.
Q. What size font do footnotes need to be if the text is 12 pt. in an essay?
Q. Hello CMS. A quick one, please. Can a book have two dedication pages? One for “To someone” and one for “For someone.”
Q. I am wondering about line spacing for block quotes and lines of dialogue. If the rest of my article is double-spaced, should my block quotes be single-spaced (so they are more legible as someone else’s words)? I have seen block quotes indented and single-spaced in journals, but I am not sure if that is a CMOS guideline.
Q. I’m editing a book manuscript that requires emphasis on the first letter of specific words throughout. It’s about a self-assessment system based on two acronyms. Assume one of them is ACRONYM, and the words are Ack Crud Retch Omigod No Yikes Mortified. The author treats the words two different ways, neither of which is particularly readable:
- Capped, in quotation marks: Take your allotment of “A”ck, align it with your “C”rud, evaluate your “R”etch.
- Capped, with the remainder of the word in parentheses: Is your O(migod) serving your N(o) in this enterprise? Will you have enough Y(ikes) to keep you M(ortified)?
Clearly, neither of these is acceptable. How can I make this manuscript readable? I know she will insist on keeping the initial caps, even in the middle of sentences, because the acronym is trademarked. But after I strip out the quotation marks and/or parentheses from these words, how do I make it clear the initial caps aren’t typos? Boldface? Italics?
Q. Consistent with CMOS 2.10, our office does not use full justification for typed materials. Some of my colleagues go a step further to avoid hyphenation across lines, which they believe is distracting to the reader, and use only nonbreaking hyphens. I can’t find any support for this in CMOS (or elsewhere). It seems to me that it could cause the “exceedingly uneven lines” that CMOS 7.47 speaks of (for example, in the event of a several-words-long phrasal adjective). So please settle our debate: should we ordinarily use nonbreaking hyphens, or is it just fine for hyphenated terms to break across ragged-margin lines?