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Grammar Time: What’s New About the 17th Edition of The Chicago Manual of Style?

November 6, 2017

If you follow our Grammar Time posts, then you likely know The Chicago Manual of Style. This writing style guide from the University of Chicago routinely settles debates on grammar and usage rules. A lot of professionals use a style guide to keep their content consistent. And many rely on the Chicago manual to stay updated on popular grammar usage decisions.

What kind of changes do you find in the recently released 17th edition? We’ll talk about just a few of them here:

Publishing Rules

While you might think that this is just one big grammar rule book, there’s a chapter specifically about rights, permissions, and copyright administrations. If you don’t already know basic copyright law, you need to learn it to avoid plagiarism issues. This includes aspects like how copyright is acquired, how it is owned, what it protects, what rights it comprises, how long it lasts, and how it is transferred from one person to another.

Additionally,  more writers are self-publishing their work. So the manual also includes updates on how to navigate agreements. This includes licensing rights and publisher contracts.

Even though the manual only covers the basics, it provides a lot of useful information for budding authors that could keep you out of hot water.

How to Address Titles for Fairy Tales, Video Games, Podcasts, Websites, and Blogs

Again, if you’ve used newer sources of information, you want to refer to them correctly in your writing and in your citations. This edition takes a stance on these mediums. Each section gives the rule and some examples.

Specifically, the manual recommends enclosing fairy tales in quotation marks, similar to other shorter works, such as poems. Generally, italicize video game titles like a movie would be. Along that same line of thought, treat podcasts and blogs similarly to TV series. This means you italicize the name of the podcast series or the blog and place individual episodes and blog post titles in quotations. Websites that can’t be tied back to a print publication shouldn’t be italicized or put in quotations. If websites can be tied to a print publication though, what writers should do will depend on the type of publication; generally websites should be italicized.

Some of these rules are rather nuanced, so it’s definitely worth looking over The Chicago Manual of Style.

Shortened Citations Versus “ibid.”

“Ibid.” short for the Latin word “ibidem”–meaning “in the same place”–is a note that many writers use to indicate that they are citing something from the same resource multiple times in a row. This has been pretty commonly accepted; however, the manual now urges writers to avoid using “ibid.” Instead, they favor shortened citations.

Their idea of a shortened citation is the author’s name, the title, and the page number with commas between each criteria. Leave off the title after the first shortened citation. Subsequent shortened citations then only need the author’s name and the page number. The idea is that this new format will prevent confusion, especially with electronic formats.

You’ll definitely want to follow your professor’s or employer’s preferences to cite a resource, however. And consistency is also key!

It may be annoying to memorize new changes. But the new edition shows that living languages change all the time to meet the needs of modern speakers and writers. Learn more about the new edition online via

By WritersDomain

WritersDomain is a team of in-house writers, editors, and support staff.

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