Chicago Manual of Style

Chicago Manual Style

The Chicago Manual of Style is an essential guide for writers, editors, and publishers…and word geeks. I turn to this 1,000+ page reference guide often as I’m writing or editing to look up the approved way of formatting or abbreviating something. But I get lost in the interesting facts that probably only capture the attention of true word geeks.

Not sure when to spell out a number or use the numerals? Is it okay to use am and pm or do you need to write a.m. or p.m.? Where does the punctuation go when you are using quotations? All this and more are at your fingertips with the CMS. Versions of this book date back to 1906 and it is now on the 18th Edition. The newest versions have added electronic references and can now be found in eBook as well as print.

To me, reading through this book, letting cross references guide my wanderings, I am thankfully to the many people that try to make sense of the English language and give us a reference for the oddest things. The book doesn’t claim to be the know-it-all to be strictly adhered to, rather it provides guidance for those that are unsure and want to follow the norms.

In writing, there are various style guides to be considered. Manuscripts seeking publication, both fiction and nonfiction, tend to follow CMS. Associated Press (AP) Style is typically for news writing and magazines. American Psychological Association (APA) Style is for writing about the social sciences and research papers. There is even the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style that is often used in academics, literature, and humanities. It focuses on citing sources and is taught in middle and high schools.

You don’t need to memorize the differences in styles, but knowing they exist may help you as you decide what type of writing you want to do.

I’m going to be putting out Tuesday Tips through my Instagram account @bluedragonpub focused on the CMS 16th Edition. Follow me to pick up some helpful hints as I come across them.