What to Do with Hyphens

The guidelines for hyphenation are complex and inconsistent. At least copyeditors are kept in business, but it can be frustrating for a writer to understand when to hyphenate and when not. Hyphenation errors are among the most common spelling problems I see. Yes, spelling. Hyphens are often thought of as punctuation, but matters of hyphenation …

Using Ellipses Properly in Nonfiction

The rules for ellipses in nonfiction differ slightly from those in fiction. In fiction, ellipses signal a hesitation or trailing off of speech. But in nonfiction, they indicate omissions from quoted material. If you’re writing a memoir or other narrative nonfiction, you may use ellipses the way they’re used in fiction. When you use an …

When to Use a Bibliography

Last time, in our discussion about endnotes, I mentioned that a bibliography is helpful but not required. The reason it’s not required is that all the information about the books you cite can be contained in the notes. The bibliography simply presents that information in alphabetical order. You might want to include a bibliography even …

How to Use Notes and Bibliographies

The next item on the Nonfiction Editing Checklist has to do with citing your sources: ☐ Footnotes, endnotes, blind notes, and reference lists have been used appropriately and are formatted correctly. The Chicago Manual of Style offers several options for citing your sources. The first of these is the least formal, and the last is …

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