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TIPSY TODAY with Rogena
Q & A — A little CMoS for today's TIPSY Post
Along with the print edition of the 16th Edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, I also subscribe to the online version. It's an easy way to find answers to a lot of your editing questions.
For instance, I had a client ask me about capitalizing 'the States' when referring to coming back to the United States from Africa, and I found this on the CMoS website:
—Q. Should I capitalize “the states” when used alone (referring to the United States)? I’m copyediting a novel in which the author capitalizes “the States” when used alone. I think it would be lowercased.
—A. Actually, “the States” is capped when it means the United States. It’s only when referring to individual states collectively that you should lowercase: “Each of the states elects two senators,” as opposed to “I’m going back to the States.”
And this, reminding me I never want to be considered an 'overzealous' editor:
—Q. What is your preference for expletives (as in CMOS 5.28)? I have been taught that “It’s important that you eat breakfast” should be changed by a vigilant editor to something else, like “You really should eat breakfast” or “Breakfast is an important meal of the day.” Are expletives acceptable or not preferred?
—A. Expletive pronouns are popularly prohibited, but an editor would be overstepping to disallow one that is used idiomatically and unambiguously (as in your sentence). Rather like the passive voice, which is essential to good writing but is routinely excised by overzealous editors, expletives are sometimes the most efficient, clear, and even elegant way to express something.
Then, sometimes they insert humor, and it makes me smile:
—Q. What does The Chicago Manual of Style recommend for the usage of make vs. makes?
—A. We recommend using one or the other.
We can be serious all the time, but life needs a few quick answers and a little fun and humor along the way.
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