Poems and Plays

8.191  Titles of Poems.  Quoted titles of most poems are set in roman type and enclosed by parentheses.  A very long poetic work, especially one constituting a book, is italicised and not enclosed in quotation marks.

Robert Frost’s poem “The Housekeeper” in his collection A Boy’s Will.

In literary studies where many poems, short and long, are mentioned it is usually better to set all their titles in italics.

8.192  First lines.  Poems referred to by first line rather than by title are capitalized sentence style (but according to the capitalization used in the poem itself).  See also 18.149.

“Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?”

8,193    Titles of plays.  Quoted titles of plays, regardless of the length of the play are italicised.

Shaw’s Arms and the Man, in volume 2 of his Plays: Pleasant and Unpleasant

8.194  Divisions of plays or poems.  Words denoting parts of long poems or acts and scenes of plays are usually lowercased, neither italicised nor enclosed quotation marks.

canto 2                                       stanza 5                                    act 3, scene 2

From:  The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition


































The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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Articles in Periodicals and Parts of a Book

8.187  Articles.  Quoted titles of articles and features in periodicals and newspapers, chapters and part titles, titles of short stories or essays, and individual selections in books are set in roman type and enclosed in quotation marks.  (If there are quotation marks in the original title, single quotation  marks must be used, as in the fourth example.)

John S. Ellis’s article “Reconciling the Celt ,” appeared in the Journal of British Studies.

In chapter 3 of The Footnote, “How the Historian Found His Muse,” Anthony Grafton…

“Tom Outland’s Story,” by Willa Cather, …

The article “Schiller’s ‘Ode to Joy’ in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony received unexpected attention.

8.188  Collected works.  When two or more works, originally published as separate books, are included in a single volume, often as part of an author’s collected works, they are best italicized when quotedl

The editor’s introduction to the Critique of Pure Reason in Kant’s Collected Works,…

8.189  Parts of a book.  Such generic terms as foreword, preface, acknowledges, introduction, appendix, bibliography, glossary and index, whether used in cross-references or in reference to another work, are lowercased and set in roman type.

The author states in her preface that…

For further documentation, see the appendix.

Full details are given in the bibliography.

The book contains a glossary, a subject index, and an index of names.

8,190  Numbered chapters, parts and so on.  The words chapter, part, appendix, table, figure and the like are lowercased and spelled out in text (though sometimes abbreviated in parenthetical references).  Numbers are given in arabic numerals, regardless of how they appear in the original.  If letters are used, they may  be upper- or lower case and are sometimes put in parentheses.  See also 9.30-31.
This matter is discussed in chapter 4 and 5.

The latin text appears in appendix B.

The range is presented numerically in table 4.2 and diagrammed in figure 4.1.

These connections are illustrated in table A3.

Turn to section 5(a) for further examples.

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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Titles of Works (Part 5)

Books and Periodicals

8.178  Freestanding publications.  Titles and subtitles of books, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, and sections of newspapers that are published separately in either print or electronic form are italicized when mentioned in text, notes, or biography.  In text and notes they are capitalized headline style (see 8.167), though sentence style may be used ina bibliography or reference list (see 8.166).

8.179  Full and shortened titles.  A title cited in full in the notes or bibliography may be shortened in the text.  A subtitle may be omitted or an initial a, an, or the may be dropped if it does not fit the surrounding syntax.  For short titles in notes, see 16.42.

Hawking, in A Brief Hostory of Time,  opens up the universe.

Hawking’s Brief History of Time explains black wholes with alarming lucidity.

That dreadful Old Curiosity Shop character, Quilp…


In The old Curiosity Shop, Dickens…

8.180  Initial “the” in periodical titles.  When newspapers and periodicals are mentioned in text, an initial the , even if part of the official title, is lowercased (unless it begins a sentence) and not italicized.  Foreign-llnguage titles, however, retain the article in the original language–but only if it is an official part of the title.  (For notes and bibliography, see 17.195-96.)

She reads the Chicago Tribune on the train.

We read Le Monde and Die Zeit while traveling in Europe.

Did you see the review in the Frankfurter Allgemeine?

8.181   What to italicize.  Only the official name of a periodical should be italicized.   Am added descriptive term is lowercased and set in roman.

She subscribes to Newsweek and the Economist.

I read it both in Time magazine and in the Washington Post.


His article was reprinted in the New York Times Magazine.

8.182  When not to italicize.  When the name of a newspaper or periodical is part of the name of a building, organization, prize, or the like, it is not italicized.

Los Angeles Times Book Award

Chicago Defender Charities

Tribune Tower

8.183  Titles as singular nouns.  A title, being a singular noun, always takes a singular verb.

Coconuts and Coquinas describes island life of Fort Myers Beach.

8.184  Terms within titles.  A term in a quoted title that is itself normally italicized such as a foreign word, a genus name, or the name of a ship, is set in roman type (“reverse italics”).  A title within a title, however, should remain in italics and be enclosed in quotation marks.  See also 8.175, 17.60.

From Tyrannosaurus rex to King Kong:  Large Creatures in Fact and Fiction

A Key to Whitehead’s “Process and Reality”

8.185  Title not interchangeable with subject.  The title of a work should not be used to stand for the subject of a work.

Dostoevsky wrote a book about crime and punishment.  (Not…about Crime and Punishment)

Edward Wasiolek’s book on Crime and Punishment is titled “Crime and Punishment” and the Critics.

In their book The Craft of Translation, Biguenet and Schulte…)

8.186  Series and editions.  Quoted titles of book series and editions are capitalized but not italicized.  The word series and edition are capitalized only if part of the title.

The Loeb Classics

a Modern Library edition

Late Editions:  Cultural Studies for the End of the Century

the Crime and Justice series

a book in the Heritage of Sociology Series

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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Titles of Works (Part 4)

8.171   Quotations as Titles.  When a quoted sentence, or at least a full clause, is used as a title, sentence-style capitalization is often appropriate.  A following subtitle–or, if the quotation is the subtitle, a preceding title–may be in headline style.

“We all live more like brutes than like humans”. Labor and Capital in the Gold Rush


My Kingdom for a Horse:  Memoirs of a Disappointed Car Owner’

8.172   Quoted titles: font and capitalization.  When quoted in text or listed in a bibliography, titles of books, journals, plays, and other freestanding works are italicized (see 8.178); titles of articles, chapters, and other shorter works are set in roman and enclosed in quotation marks (see 8.187).  Only initialisms or acronyms should be set in full capitals.  For foreign titles, see (10.3-7).

Many editors use The Chicago Manual of Style

Refer to the article titled “A Comparison of the MLA and the APA Style Manuals”

8.173   Subtitles.  A subtitle, whether in sentence-style or headline-style capitalization, always begins with a capital letter.  Although on a title page or in a chapter heading a subtitle is often distinguished from a title by a different typeface, when quoted in text or listed in bibliography it is separated from the title by a colon.  When an em dash rather than a colon is used, what follows the em dash is not normally considered to be a subtitle, and the first word is not necessarily capitalized.  See also 17.54.

“Manuals of Style:  Guidelines, Not Strangleholds” (heading style)

Tapetum character states:  Analytical keys (sentence style)


Chicago–a Good Town

8.174   Permissible changes in quoted titles.  When a title is quoted, its original spelling (including non-Latin letters such as π or ϒ), hyphenization, and punctuation should be preserved regardless of the style used in the surrounding text (but see 8.175).  Capitalization should also be preserved, except that words in full capitals on the original title page should be set in upper and lower case (see 8.172).  As a matter of editorial discretion, an ampersand (&) may be changed to and, or, more rarely a numeral may be spelled out.  See also 17.52.

8.175   Punctuation in quoted titles.  On title pages, where the title often appears in very large type, commas area sometimes omitted from the ends of lines.  When a title is quoted, such commas should be added.  (Serial commas need to be added only if it is clear that they are used in the work itself.)  A date at the end of a title or subtitle sometimes appears on a line by itself; when quoted, it should be preceded by a comma.  If title and subtitle on a title a page are distinguished by typeface, a colon must be added when the subtitle is quoted.  A dash in the original should be retained. (for two subtitles in the original. (see 17.54).  The following examples illustrate the way quoted titles and subtitles are normally punctuated and capitalized in running text, notes, and bibliographies using headline capitalization.  The first three are books, the fourth is an article.

Disease, Pain and Sacrifice:  Toward a Psychology of Suffering

Melodrama Unveiled:  American Theater and Culture, 1800-1850

Browning’s Roman Murder Story:  A Reading of “The Ring and the Book”

“Milton Freedman’s “Capitalism and Freedom—a Best Seller for Chicago”

For more on titles within titles (as in the third and fourth examples above, see 8.184, 8.187.)

8.176   Punctuation vis-à-vis surrounding text.  Since a title is a noun form, any punctuation within it should not affect punctuation of the surrounding text.  See also 6.43, 8.185.

8.177   Double titles.  Old-fashioned double titles (or titles and subtitles) connected by or are traditionally quoted as in the first example, less traditionally but more simply as in the second.  In both forms, the second title begins with a capital.  Either form is acceptable if used consistently.

England’s Monitor, or, The History of the Separation

England’s Monitor or The History of the Separation

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition


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Titles of Works (Part 3)

8.168   Hyphenated compounds in titles. Two options for capitalizing a hyphenated compound in headline style are offered here—first, a simple rule (see 8.169), beloved of some but disdained by others, and second, a complex but more traditional set of rules (see 8.170). Contrary to practice elsewhere in this manual, the first option, requiring a single paragraph, precedes the one generally preferred by Chicago.

8.169   Hyphenation: the simple rule. Capitalize only the first element unless any subsequent element is a proper noun or adjective.

Death-defying feats by Nineteenth-century Tightrope Walkers

An All-American Girl: How a Non-English-speaking Immigrant Made Good

8.170   Hyphenation: the more traditional rules. (1) Always capitalize the first element. (2) Capitalize any subsequent elements unless they are articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, or, nor) or such modifiers as flat or sharp following musical key symbols. (3) If the first element is merely a prefix or combining form that could stand by itself as a word (anti, pre, etc.), do not capitalize te second element unless it is a proper noun or proper adjective. (4) Do not capitalize the second element in a hyphenated spelled out number (twenty-one, etc.). (5) Break a rule when it doesn’t work (see the last three examples below).

Under-the-Counter Transactions and Out-of-Fashion Initiatives

Sugar-and-Spice Stories for Girls or Boys

Record-Breaking Borrowings from Medium-Sized Libraries

Cross-Stitching for Beginners

The E-flat Concerto

Self-Sustaining Reactions

A Two-thirds Majority of Non-English Speaking Representatives

Anti-intellectual Pursuits

Does E-mail Alter Speech Patterns?

Lolita’s Twenty-first Birthday

A History of the Chicago Lying-in Hospital


Twenty-First Century History (first, if lowercased, would look inconsistent here)

Hand-me-downs and Forget-me-nots (lowercase short and unstressed elements)

Run-ins ad Take-offs (lowercase short and unstressed elements)

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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Titles of Works, Part 2


8.167  The conventions of headline style, admittedly arbitrary, are governed by a mixture of aesthetics (the appearance of a title on a printed page), emphasis, and grammar.  Some words are always capitalized; some are always lowercased (unless used as the first or last word in a title);  others require a decision.  Chicago recommends the following rules,  pragmatic rather than logically rigorous but generally accepted:  (1) Always capitalize the first and last words both in titles and in subtitles and in all other major words (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and some conjunctions–but see rule 4).  (2) Lowercase the articles, the, a, and  an.  (3) Lowercase prepositions, regardless of length, except when they are stressed (through, in A River Runs Through It), are used adverbially or adjectivally (up as in Look Up, down in Turn Down, on in The On Button, etc.), are used  as conjunctions (before in Look Before You Leap, etc.), or are part of a Latin expression used adjectivally adverbially (De Facto, In Vitro, etc.).  (4) Lowercase the conjunctions and, but, for, or, nor.  (5)  Lowercase the words to and as in any grammatical function, for simplicity’s sake.  (6) Lowercase the second part of a species name, such as Ilucius, as in Esox lucius, or the part of a proper name that would be lowercased in text such as de or von.  For hyphenated terms see 8.168-70.  For words that can be used as prepositions, as adverbs, or as adjectives, consult Webster.  All of the following examples illustrate rule 1; the  numbers in parentheses refer to rules 2-6.

Mnemonics That Work Are Better Than Rules That Don’t.

Singing While You Work

A Little Learning is a Dangerous Thing (2)

Four Theories concerning the Gospel according to Matthew (3)

Taking down Names, Spelling Them Out, and Typing Them Up (3, 4)

Tired But Happy (4)

The Editor as Anonymous Assistant (5)

From Homo Erectus to Homo sapiens:  A Brief History (3, 5, 6)

Sitting on the Floor in an Empty Room,  but Turn On, Tune In, and Enjoy (3)

Traveling with Fido, but A Good Dog to Travel With (3,5)

Voting for the Bond Issue, but Voting For and Against the Bond Issue (3)

Ten Hectares per Capita, but Landownership and Per Capita Income (e)

Progress in In Vitro Fertilization (3)

If you are not sure what grammatical function a word is performing (even if you are), try reading the title aloud; if you would stress the word, capitalize it; if not, lowercase it.  See also 5.170.

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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Titles of Works

Capitalization, Hyphenation, and Punctuation

8.164  Overview.  The following guidelines apply to titles as the appear on title pages; in tables of contents; at chapter, title, article, or section openings; and cited in text or notes.  They apply to titles of books, journals, newspapers and other freestanding publications as well as to shorter works (stories, poems, articles, etc.), divisions of longer works (parts, chapters, sections), unpublished works  (lectures, etc.) plays and films, radio and television programs, musical works and artworks.  For details on citing titles in notes and bibliographies, see chapters 16 and 17.

8.165  Capitalization.  In their original form (on title pages or at the head of articles or chapters) most titles appear either in capitals and lower case, “clc” (Like This), or in caps and small caps, “csc” (LIKE THIS).  Regardless of their original appearance, quoted titles may be capitalized in either sentence style (8.166) or, more commonly in headline style (see 8.167).  For capitalization of foreign titles, see 10.3.

8.166  Sentence style.  In sentence-style capitalization only the first world in a title, the first word in a subtitle, and any proper names are capitalized.    This style is commonly used in reference lists (see chapter 16) and library catalogs.  It is also useful in works whose section headings are very long or in works whose headings include terms (such as species names) that require their own internal capitalization.  For quotations as titles, see 8.171.

Crossing Magnolia denudata with M. Lilliflora to create a new hybrid:  A success story

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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Brand Names and Trademarks

8.162     Trademarks.  Brand names that are registered trademarks — often so indicated in dictionaries–should be capitalized if they must be used.  A better choice is to substitute a generic term when available.  Although the symbols ® and ™ often accompany trademark names on product packaging and in promotional material, there is no legal requirement to use these symbols, and they should be omitted wherever possible.  Note also that some companies want people to use both the the proper and generic terms in reference to their product (“Kleenex facial tissue,” not just “Kleenex”), but here again there is no legal requirement.  For computer names, see 7.81.

Bufferin; buffered aspirin                                      Ping-Pong; table tennis

Coca-Cola                                                                   Pyrex; heat-resistant glassware

Jacuzzi; whirlpool bath                                           Scrabble

Kleenex; (facial) tissue                                             Vaseline; petroleum jelly

Levi’s; jeans                                                                 Xerox; photocopier


Registered trademarks may be found on the Web sites of the U.S Patent and Trademark office and the International Trademark Association.

8.163   Lowercase initial letter.  Brand names or names of companies that are spelled with a lowercase initial letter (eBay, iMac, etc.) pose a problem if they begin a sentence in normal prose.  Chicago recommends either capitalizing the first letter in that position or, better, recasting the sentence so that the name does not appear at the beginning.  Company or product names with an internal capital immediately following, and followed by a lowercase letter (“midcap”) should be left unchanged (WordPerfect, HarperCollins, , SmithKline Beacham).  See also 8.6.

From the The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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Physical and Chemical Terms

8.156   Overview. The following paragraphs offer only the most general guidelines for nontechnical editors. Writers or editors working in physics should consult The AIP Style Manual (bibliog. 1.1) or, among other journals, Physical Review Letters and Astrophysical Journal (both in bibliog. 5); those working in chemistry should consult ACS Style Guide (bibliog. 1.1).

8.157   Laws and theories. Names of laws, theories, and the like are lowercased, except for proper names attached to them.

Avogadro’s hypothesis

(Einstein’s) general of relativity                     Boyle’s Law

The big bang theory                                          Newton’s first law

Boyle’s law

8.158   Chemical names and symbols. Names of chemical elements and compounds are lowercased when written out. Symbols, however, are capitalized and set without periods; the number of atoms in a molecule appears as a subscript. For a list of symbols for the elements, see 15.70.

Sulfuric acid; H2SO4                                        tungsten carbide; WC

Sodium chloride; NaCl                                    ozone; O

8.159   Mass number. In formal chemical literature, the mass number appears as a superscript to the left of the symbol. In work intended for a general audience, however, it may follow the symbol after a hyphen, in full size.

           238U (formal style); U238 or uranium-238 (informal style)

             14C (formal style); C-14 or carbon-14 (informal style)

8.160   Radiations. Terms for electromagnetic radiations may be spelled as follows.

x-ray (noun, verb or adjective

β-ray (noun or adjective)

beta ray (in nonscientific contexts, noun or adjective

x-ray (noun or adjective)

gamma ray (in nonscientific contexts, noun or adjective)

cosmic ray (noun); cosmic-ray

ultraviolet rays (noun); ultraviolet-ray (adjective)

Note that the verb to x-ray, though acceptable in a general context, is not normally used in medical literature, where writers would more likely speak of obtaining an x-ray film, or a radiograph, of something. To irradiate refers to radiation therapy.

8.161   Metric units. Although the spellings, meter, liter, and so on are widely issued in the United States, some American business, government, or professional organizations have adopted European spellings (metre, litre, etc.) Chicago accepts either as long as consistency is maintained within a work. For abbreviations used in the International System of Units, see 15.58-64.

From The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

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Proofreading on All Levels

A professional proofreader reads on many levels at the same time.

Spelling: Never assume. If there is any doubt, check Merriam-Webster. You might be surprised by what you find. Be sure to verify proper names and name-brand spellings.

Grammar: Do the subject and the verb agree? Are there run-on sentences or sentence fragments?

Punctuation: Comma or semicolon? Single or double quotation marks? Are the periods and commas at the end of quotations kept within the close quotation marks? Are em dashes and en dashes properly used? Should a single closing quote be used instead of a single opening quote?

Hyphenation: When to hyphenate (state-of-the-art software), and when not to hyphenate (wholly owned subsidiary).

Capitalization: When to capitalize (President Obama is on the phone) and when not to capitalize (The president is on the phone).

Consistency: Make sure your styles match throughout the document:

Serial lists (commas or semicolons at the end of each line):

and birds


Walk the dog;
Pet the cat; and
Feed the birds

Serial Comma:

Which to use throughout: Tom, Dick and Harry; or Tom, Dick, and Harry?


Are there spaces on both sides of an ellipses, or are there no spaces at all?

Em dashes and En dashes:

Are there spaces on both sides of the em or n dash, or are there no spaces at all?

Sense:  Are there repeated words (I am going to to the store) or are there omitted words (I am going the store)? Does the text make sense? Can you follow it? If the sense is unclear, then be sure to query the author to see if parts of the original sentence have been omitted.

In need of a proofreader? Get an estimate.

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