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Quotations and Dialogue
Q. What is Chicago style counsel for using empty brackets when attempting to fit a quotation syntactically into a sentence? The Bluebook permits empty brackets to indicate “the omission of letters from a common root word”—for example, “judgment” (77). Does Chicago follow this? And if not, how does Chicago handle such cases where, for instance, an original approached needs to be made approach?
A. In Chicago style, brackets can signal substitutions as well as insertions. To change approached to approach within a quotation, the word approach goes into the brackets. If it’s important for readers to know whether the bracketed material is an edit or an insertion, consider paraphrasing or explaining instead of altering the quote. Please see CMOS 6.99.