Style Guide

This is the style guide we start with for projects where the publisher does not already have his own style established.

(For an explanation of the importance of having such a style guide, check out “Seahorses and Style.” For an explanation of the terminology of “style guide” versus “style sheet,” check out “What Is a Style Sheet?

  1. Overview

    We follow the Chicago Manual of Style[1] with a few modifications (see House Style below). Chicago is venerable and absolutely comprehensive, so you can always find what you’re looking for in its manual. Some of its simplest principles are listed below.

    Our goal is internal consistency per project, not consistency across all publications (Note: a periodical counts as a single project). Experienced authors deserve deference on individual style (e.g., use of italics, odd turns of phrase, deliberately incomplete sentences, etc.). When editing the previously published work of nonliving writers, correct only spelling, grammar, and punctuation. The issue of British vs. American English should be dealt with on a case-by-case, least-time-cost basis.

  2. House Style

    Invisible Order Style varies from Chicago on these three points:

    1. No spaces between initials: F.A. Hayek (not F. A. Hayek). This prevents initials from being separated by wrap on electronic pages.
    2. In citations and references always use “p.” and “pp.” to introduce page numbers — even for journals. For example: (Long, 2000, pp. 33–34).
  3. Journal vs. Newsletter Styles

    Chicago allows for more formal and less formal styles, called journal style and newsletter style, respectively. Most of the differences between the two styles have to do with numbers vs. numerals or with the use or nonuse of periods in abbreviations (e.g., US vs U.S., PhD vs. Ph.D.). See Numbers below.

  4. Electronic vs. Print Styles

    Most of the rules summarized in this style guide apply to both electronic and print publications. However, issues of wrapping and reflow (which apply to HTML, ePub, and Kindle) require modifications to Chicago Style for em dashes and ellipses. Where Chicago does not have spaces before and after em dashes, electronic style requires them. See Punctuation (below) for print-style ellipses; electronic style uses the ellipses character, with no space between a period and an ellipsis.

  5. Punctuation

    1. Quotation marks. Quotation marks are placed outside periods and commas, even when the quotation logically falls within the sentence. The colon and semicolon follow the quotation mark. The question mark and exclamation point falls within the quotation marks only when it belongs to the material quoted.
    2. Parentheses. The period goes outside of the parentheses when the parentheses’ passage is contained within the sentence. (Full sentences in parens have a period at the end of them before the final parenthesis.)
    3. Serial Comma. Three or more elements in a series are separated by commas, including a comma before the “and” that precedes the last element.
    4. Punctuation indicating omitted material (ellipses). Omitted words are indicated by three ellipsis points. When the material follows a complete sentence, the punctuation (period, questions mark, etc.) of the sentence comes first, followed by a space and three points. Ellipses can also be followed by closing punctuation. Examples: There are…four quarters in a dollar.… However, there are only two nickels in a dime. First we went to see … ; then we bought the book; finally, we to the café to read. N.B. Electronic vs. Print Styles above. For more examples see Chicago Manual 11.55.
    5. Abbreviations. Abbreviations require a period, including Mr.; Dr.; and St., as in St. Augustine. (But see Journal vs. Newsletter Styles above.) However, most acronyms do not have periods, e.g., AIDS, FDR, etc. (Chicago Manual 15.3).
    6. En Dash. Inclusive ranges take an en dash, not a hyphen (in Word, entered with option-hyphen, or by opening “insert” and inserting the en dash symbol), e.g., June 19–24; July — August.
    7. Em Dash. Explanatory clauses can be set off by an em dash — often indicated in a typescript by two hyphens — without a space before or after the dash. (In Word, entered with shift-option-hyphen, or by opening “insert” and inserting the em dash symbol.) N.B. Electronic vs. Print Styles above.
  6. Abbreviations

    1. ca. (without italics) for circa; vs. for versus
    2. The abbreviations “i.e.” and “e.g.” are followed by commas.
  7. Numbers

    1. Spell out numbers beginning a sentence (if you have a date at the beginning of a sentence, try recasting the sentence to avoid spelling out the date). Also spell out numbers
      1. in newsletter style, from one through ten,
      2. in journal style, from one to a hundred, round numbers.
    2. Use numerals for other numbers. Please note that “if according to rule you must use numerals for one of the numbers in a given category, use them for all in that category” (Chicago Manual 9.7).
    3. When writing about centuries, the century is
      1. spelled out in journal style (the twentieth century);
      2. written in numerals in newsletter style (the 20th century).
    4. American date format is month (spelled out), numeral day, numeral year, e.g., March 25, 2010.
    5. Use commas in numerals over 3 digits. e.g., 2,546, 10,000 (not 10.000 or 10 000).
  8. Capitalization and Italicization

    1. Proper nouns are capitalized when referring to a specific individual, group, or document, e.g., Queen Anne, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the Congress. But common nouns are not; thus, the president, the secretary, etc. (President Obama is the president of the United States. Secretary of State Clinton is his secretary of state.)
    2. Well-established names of historical periods or events are capitalized, e.g., the Middle Ages, the New Deal.
    3. Capitalize Western and the West when it refers to a cultural designation.
    4. Titles.
      1. Titles of books, journals, films, television and radio shows are italicized.
      2. Titles of individual chapters, articles, or episodes are placed in quotation marks and not italicized.
      3. Website and blog titles are neither italicized nor placed in quotation marks.
      4. English titles are capitalized headline style:
        1. The first and last word of a title or subtitle are always capitalized.
        2. Capitalize all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and some conjunctions.
        3. Lowercase
          1. articles (the, a, an);
          2. prepositions unless they need to be emphasized or are being used as adjectives, adverbs, or conjunctions (note: prepositions in Latin phrases are capped.);
          3. the conjunctions and, but, for, or, nor;
          4. to and as.

    For examples, see Chicago Manual 8.167.

    For foreign titles of works, whether these appear in text, notes, or bibliographies, Chicago recommends a simple rule: capitalize only the words that would be capitalized in normal prose — first word of title and subtitle and all proper nouns. In other words, use sentence style. See Chicago Manual 10.3.

  9. References

    (For the capitalization of titles, see above.)

    For more examples, see the Chicago Manual’s Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide.

    1. Footnotes.

      1. Basic footnote entry for a book.

        Author, Title (Place: Publisher, date), page reference.

        Milton Friedman and Rose D. Friedman, Two Lucky People: Memoirs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), pp. 112–17.

      2. Basic footnote entry for an article.

        If a periodical is paginated throughout the volume, then only the volume number and the year are necessary. Author, “Article title,” Periodical Title Volume (year): page reference.

        Amanda Groves, “Liberty Knocking at the Door,” Journal for Freedom 33 (1921): pp. 112–30.

        If it is not, then the issue number and its time of issue are included.

        Jeffrey A. Tucker, “Mises as Mentor: An Interview with George Reisman,” Austrian Economics Newsletter 21, no. 3 (Fall 2001): p. 4.

        For articles in books, include the editor and book publication information.

        Author, “Article Title,” in Book Title, ed. Jane Editor (Place of publication: Publisher, year), page reference.

        (The example below also includes a volume number before the page reference because the book is a multivolume work.)

        James Haar, “Lassus,” in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie (London: Macmillan, 2001), 14: 295–322.

    2. Bibliography.

      Entries appear alphabetically by author’s last name and then chronologically rather than by title.

      1. Basic bibliography entry for an article in a journal.

        Author (last name first — applies to first author). Date. “Article Title.” Journal Title volume number, issue number: page reference.

        Salerno, Joseph T. 1999. “The Place of Mises’s Human Action in the Development of Modern Economic Thought.” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics 2, no. 1: pp. 35–65.

      2. Basic bibliography entry for a book.

        Author (last name first — applies to first author). Date. Title. Place: Publisher.

        Friedman, Milton and Rose D. Friedman. 1998. Two Lucky People: Memoirs. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

      3. Basic bibliography entry for a book chapter.

        Author (last name first — applies to first author). Date. “Chapter Title.” In Book Title, Editor’s Name, ed., page reference. Place: Publisher.

        Kirzner, Israel M. 2000. “Hedgehog or Fox? Hayek and the Idea of Plan-Coordination.” In The Driving Force of the Market Economy: Essays in Austrian Economics, Israel M. Kirzner, ed., pp. 180–202. London: Routledge.

      4. Basic bibliography entry in the case of a reprint.

        Author (last name first — applies to first author). [Original Date] Date of reprint. Title. Place: Publisher, Date if different from original date.

        Mises, Ludwig von. [1949] 1998. Human Action: A Treatise on Economics. Scholars Edition, Auburn, Ala: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1998.

    3. Internet References.

      Note: On a web page, the title of the article would be linked to its page and the URL removed from the text of the citation.

      1. Footnote citation.

        Mark A. Hlatky et al., “Quality-of-Life and Depressive Symptoms in Postmenopausal Women after Receiving Hormone Therapy: Results from the Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study (HERS) Trial,” Journal of the American Medical Association 287, no. 5 (2002),

        James “Lassus,” Grove Music Online, ed. Laura Macy, (accessed February 8, 2007). Note: You do not need access dates for journals and books published online.

      2. Bibliography entry.

        Kurland, Philip B. and Ralph Lerner, eds. 1987. The Founders’ Constitution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  10. Special Notes on Grammar and Punctuation

    1. Possessive. The possessive for names that end in “s” is ‘s, e.g., Mises’s and Keynes’s, not Mises’ and Keynes’.
    2. Names. Prepositions in names are usually not capitalized and are dropped when only the last name is used, e.g., Friedrich August von Hayek, not Friedrich August Von Hayek. Mises, not Von Mises.
    3. The subjunctive mood (e.g., “If I were king”) is for counterfactuals, not conditionals. See American Heritage Book of Usage.
    4. Whoever vs. whomever. “Avoid the second unless you are certain of your grammar {give this book to whoever wants it} {give it to whomever you choose}. If you are uncertain why both these examples are correct, use anyone who in the first example and just anyone in the second” (Chicago Manual 5.202).
    5. Compounds and Hyphenation. If there is a page in the Chicago Manual that you should bookmark, this is probably the one: Chicago 7.90.

    Some Tips to Keep in Mind

    • If you have an adverb ending in -ly, don’t hyphenate: The quickly recoiling snake slithered back to its hole.
    • Words formed with prefixes are generally closed: nonviolent, nonevent, nonnegotiable (but non-beer-drinking, non-European, anti-intellectual).

    Often-Used Terms

    • Austrian business-cycle theory
    • federal-funds rate
    • fractional-reserve banking (fractional-reserve-banking system)
    • Federal Reserve note

    Other Terms

    Colons and Semicolons

    • As a rule, colons and semicolons should only follow independent clauses. A standard exception is when semicolons are used in a list to separate items with internal punctuation

[1] In order to see the Chicago manual pages cited here, you need to have a Chicago Online account — or, of course, your own print copy of the manual.

2 responses to “Style Guide

  1. Pingback: Editing for Liberty #10: Presidents and Prepositions | Invisible Order

  2. Pingback: Seahorses and Style | Invisible Order

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