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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chicago Style Q&A: New Questions and Answers

The May 2012 edition of Questions and Answers from the Chicago Manual of Style is out! And as usual, I appreciate its clear, sometimes ironic, and always useful responses.

Here are several I especially liked:

Q. I am agitated about the institutional inconsistency on this point and found the College Board to be of no help, so I turn to you. What is the proper treatment of an associate degree? As I have stated it, or is it “associates” or “associate’s”?

A. Someday someone will do something about institutional inconsistency, and then we can all retire. Meanwhile, both “associate degree” and “associate’s degree” are widely used, and they both seem reasonable and logical. Even if the board never decides on one or the other, you can.

Q. Should she or it be used as a pronoun for a country?

A. Never use she to refer to a country. You’ll sound as if you either don’t know English or last studied it in 1950.

Q. We use CMOS 14 and can find no solution to the following problem. “When we first met, he had done the unforgivable, and it had come out so naturally I’d been pleased rather than offended.” It seems the comma before and is unnecessary. Our author disagrees. Can you help?

A. I’m sorry I can’t check the 14th edition for you; I sold my copy to an antique collector after I tried to donate it to a home for retired copyeditors and nobody wanted it (they all had the 16th). CMOS 16 (6.28) is very helpful on the subject, however, recommending a comma in that position.

The Web page for the May 2012 also contains the April 2012 edition. 
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