Q. I was horrified to see that you endorsed using an apostrophe before the s to form plurals! “To aid comprehension, lowercase letters form the plural with an apostrophe and an s (compare ‘two as in llama’ with ‘two a’s in llama’)” (CMOS 7.15). I protest. An apostrophe conveys possession, or a contraction. It should never be used in this context. Please advise where this misbegotten rule came from.
Q. When a question introduces a list, should you use a question mark or a colon? Or both?
Q. I edited a travel book for children, and I would love to know your response to this comment from an Amazon reviewer: “U.S. is spelled US throughout the book; D.C. is also spelled without the accurate punctuation. That sort of inattention to accuracy is inexcusable.” The author has asked me to write a response to this for Amazon. This reviewer seems to think Chicago style is teaching kids bad punctuation habits. Thanks for your help.
Q. What’s the official CMOS stance on double question marks?? I see this a lot in blogs, online magazines, DIY news sites, etc.
Q. Dear CMOS team—a book I am working on as an editor is called (disguised) Sandwich: Imagine the Recipe. Write It Down. Watch It Happen. Are the periods in the subtitle appropriate, or are commas preferred? The periods are driving me crazy, so it would be nice if there were a Chicago rule to say yea or nay.
Q. For catalog copy, how would I write inches symbols with a period at the end of a sentence? (The client wants symbols rather than to spell out inches. That is nondebatable.)
5'' × 4''.
5'' × 4.''
The client says it’s the latter. I say NO WAY. I think the hash marks are not to be confused with an end-quote mark. Please!!! Please!!! Can someone help me out here?
Q. I am unclear on whether you always use brackets for ellipses that the author quoting the material has inserted. For example, in this quote, the quoting author has inserted ellipses. Would every instance of ellipses therefore be bracketed? “Make manifest the nature of the Moral-Mental-Physical Conflict; . . . discern a Pattern for Successful Operations; . . . help generalize Tactics and Strategy; . . . find a basis for Grand Strategy.”
Q. I’m a copyeditor, and I’m currently working on a company newsletter that highlights a new section of our internal style guide. I’m quoting two sentences of some existing material for an example, but I don’t want to include the entire second sentence. Right now, I have this: “For example: ‘Our new software makes managing information effortless. The software allows users to . . .’ ” Should there be a period at the end of that quote? Inside the quotation marks or outside? I’ve been staring at it for far too long and have come to no conclusion.
Q. I’m proofreading a math textbook that ends a sentence with “25 in.” followed by a superscript 2, denoting square inches. (Our math textbooks do not use “sq. in.”) There is a period after “in” and then another period after the superscript: 25 in.2. My gut says to eliminate the second period. What say you?
Q. I’m editing a transcript, and our department’s lead editor is giving me some trouble. We’re suffering over the word so. Under what circumstances can one put a comma after so? For example, in this transcript, a woman says: “So great answer.” Is so functioning conjunctively here, or can it be treated as an interjection? And what, if anything, does that mean for comma placement?