Time to Upgrade the CMOS

No, I am not talking electronics. I’m talking about my Chicago Manual of Style 14th edition from 1993. In it they briefly talk about the increase of writing by computer (they actually had to say these programs are known as word processors) but the book is largely from the point of view of the old proofreading mark-up style. On paper (which I still feel is as it should be).

Anyone ever heard of kerning? Anyone under 30?

I used to know all (well, a lot) those copyediting scribbles and markups.

Anyway this article I’m editing uses two spaces between sentences. Now I do remember many years ago hitting the space key twice on my old Remington after every sentence. But, when reading this article it occurred to me: when did I stop doing that? Who told me to stop doing that?

I spent a half hour trying to find the rule in my CMOS. Nothing. I tried Google. Got a lot of hits on that. Double spacing after sentences is out. The newer edition, now 16th, has an entry called Spacing: between words and sentences 2.9, 2.11.

Perhaps it wasn’t mentioned in the older CMOS due to manual typesetting or something, or the difference in fonts. I don’t suppose anyone edits on paper anymore. Except for Harlan Ellison’s editor because Ellison refuses to use a computer. So I’ve read.

The problem is I like to include the CMOS citation for corrections, unless they are obvious mess-ups. And, it needn’t be said, not every rule applies, especially in fiction where a broken rule is often on purpose.

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3 responses to “Time to Upgrade the CMOS

  • taichiwawa

    Can you imagine trying to edit hundreds of pages of THIS?

    • bensira587

      Hundreds? Hell no! Although if I were an editor and received that, I would get my revenge when I sent back all the corrections and comments on massacred paper. “Try to rewrite from that, asshole!”

      I’ve done a couple pages like that of my own writing way back when I had first got a computer and forgot to double space the text before hitting ‘print’. Then again, there is a huge difference in double spacing between sentences and double spacing between lines.

      I wonder, are digital submissions required to have double spaced lines? It would seem not as necessary with comment insertion available, and the editing “markup” used now.

      Two of the five submissions that I handled for the next issue used single line spacing. The others were double spaced. I didn’t notice a difference of ease working with one or the other. That said, the documents were submitted very clean so there wasn’t much markup or remarks added.

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