By Abby in Editorial
For over a hundred years, The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS ) has been the editor’s bible, telling book folks everything they need to know about the journey from manuscript to print. In over one thousand densely packed pages, the new reorganized sixteenth edition (2010)—the first to come out both in print and online—covers copyright, editing, grammar and usage, punctuation, spelling, abbreviations, illustrations and tables, treatment of foreign languages, achieving bias-free language, use of quotations, sub rights including electronic ones, bibliography, and indexes. It also explains the mechanics of electronic editing and production and tells how to cite blog entries, podcasts, and other electronic sources. And if the book doesn’t answer all your questions, now you can go online to the Chicago Style Q&A.
For people who love words and care about stylistic consistency, publication of the new manual was an event. Anita Samen, one of the editors, appeared on public television on Chicago Tonight. The Chicago Tribune ran an article, and the venerable New Yorker magazine wrote about CMOS Sixteen.
Some of the small rule changes in the sixteenth edition: “US” rather than “U.S.” is now preferred, as are the two-letter postal codes for states (“CT” rather than “Conn.”); ”website” is preferred over “web site”; titles of art exhibitions and photographs are italicized; if a URL must be broken over a line, break before the slash.
The CMOS has long had helpful entries on grammar and style. If you’ve ever lost sleep wondering if you can end a sentence with a preposition, worry no more. CMOS proclaims that the rule prohibiting “terminal prepositions” was “an ill-founded superstition.” The authors agree with Winston Churchill, who said, “That is a type of arrant pedantry up with which I shall not put.”
Now I know I can put an exclamation point and question mark together if necessary when one of these marks is in a title. At last it’s possible to ask, Have you read Whitman’s great new picture book Hoppy Hanukkah!? Whew!
And my inner grammar geek is happy to know that “it is I” and “it is me” are both acceptable. The manual notes (perhaps in a little payback to some long-ago English teacher) that while grammatical, “it is I” is “stuffy.” Thanks, CMOS!
(CMOS purse made by Rebound Designs)