Q. I am a little confused about how to properly use an em dash in the case of independent clauses. I thought that it should not be used to join two independent clauses, but I see it used this way all the time, and there is nothing definitive about its use in this instance in your book. Here’s an example: This plan isn’t like other diets—in fact, it’s not a diet at all. Please help me settle this issue once and for all!

Q. I wrote a report at work, and whenever I wrote a sentence such as “Most businesses pay taxes monthly, however, some small businesses pay taxes quarterly,” the sentence was changed to “Most businesses pay taxes monthly. However, some small businesses pay taxes quarterly.” Is this correct?

Q. When using an ellipsis in a quotation that contains a full sentence and then deletes some of the next sentence, do you use a period at the end of the full sentence followed by a space and the three dots? Then do you capitalize the first word of the next sentence and do you bracket the first letter to show it was not capitalized?

Q. If a sentence is a question and ends with a quote which is not a question, should a question mark be used, and if so, where should it be placed?

Q. I can’t find any reference in CMOS 16 to how odds should be punctuated.

Q. Please help our editorial team settle a debate! Our query concerns this paragraph:

Students might offer many different explanations, such as “Selma has 3 groups of __.” or “John has __. Selma has 3 times as many.”

Is it fine to keep the period at the end of the first example when it is followed by an or and then another example? Thank you.

Q. In this example {The stationery is described in John R. MacArthur’s book The Selling of “Free Trade,” p. 217}, is it right for the quotes that apply only to “Free Trade” to fall after the comma? And if so, should the comma revert to roman but the quotes remain in italics?

Q. If I am making a direct quotation and using the author-date references, the reference is supposed to go within the sentence before the period. But what if the quotation is at the end of the sentence? Do I use two periods? E.g.: Carrington, a Thatcherite conservative, remarked after the Lancaster House agreement in 1979 that “if any man left Lancaster House transformed in the eyes of Western statesmen, it was Mugabe.” (Chan 2003, 14).

Q. A colleague has sent me your about-face from the 15th edition regarding punctuation following italicized words, and I am speechless. I’m afraid I’ll have to look for a new authority on style, because this decision is so vile, and makes text look so absolutely horrible that I refuse to follow the change. What’s next? Putting commas and periods outside quotation marks? You may as well go that route as well; it looks better than having a roman question mark or exclamation point after an italicized word. What’s wrong with you? Why couldn’t you leave well enough alone? Absolutely irrational, horrible decision. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Q. I know semicolons are mandated for complicated lists. But is a complicated list defined only as a list containing commas within the items in the list?