Subscribe to The Chicago Manual of Style Online
Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading
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?
A. Oh dear. Bolding the initial letter is probably best (if by best we mean “least crappy”).