Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading

Q. Style dictates no paragraph indent on the first line of an extracted quote. When there is dialogue, it looks awkward to leave out the indent on the first line, but I have always done that true to style. Could you verify that? Also, I now have a case of dialogue using em dashes instead of quotation marks. I assume the same is true: The first line has no paragraph indent but subsequent dialogue has normal paragraph indents. Again, please verify.

A. If you are talking about dramatic dialogue, in Chicago style, each paragraph normally begins with the name of a speaker and is set in flush-and-hang style, so there’s no question of a first-line indent. (Please see CMOS 13.46.) In any case, when following a style looks awkward, the last thing we want you to do is use it anyway. We try hard to discourage writers and editors from forcing our guidelines into unsuitable situations!