Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading

Q. I edit academic papers in Canadian Press style, which uses per cent rather than percent. However, I am always told that while the text must be Canadian Press, the footnotes must be Chicago style. Since it looks odd to have per cent in the text and percent in the footnotes, is it permissible to alter that word to Canadian Press style in footnotes? The same would go for the problem with Canadian Press style: colour, behaviour, etc., in the text as opposed to color and behavior in the footnotes.

A. Anyone who asks an editor to use Canadian Press style in the text and Chicago style in the notes is begging for inconsistencies in all the ways you mention and more. And if you’re able to use two style guides simultaneously without mixing things up, you deserve double pay! However, given the possibility that you are taking the instructions too literally, you should run this by your supervisor. Once made to see the issues, your supervisor might clarify—e.g., that you should use Canadian spelling throughout.