Subscribe to The Chicago Manual of Style Online
Q. I’m curious as to what proper Chicago-style formatting would be for referring to a person’s pronouns. In informal communication I have found it standard to give them in roman and separated by slashes: she/her/hers.
But should the pronouns be italicized because they are being referred to as words? I also wonder whether the slashes are proper Chicago style. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
A. You are right about the italics. Strictly speaking, Chicago style would be she/her/hers. As for the slashes, their main use is to separate alternatives (as described in CMOS 6.106), so they’re the perfect choice here. She, her, and hers are alternative forms of the same word—different grammatical case forms that depend on context.
If you want to go to the next level, apply italics to the pronouns but not to the slashes (as in our example above). Almost no one will notice, but you’ll have the satisfaction of having applied your italics with precision and care.