Chicago Manual of Style Q&A | October 2015

Every month, the Chicago Manual of Style folks answer questions they’ve received. Following are a couple excerpts from the Q&A of October 2015. To read the full month’s Q&A, visit www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/qanda/latest.html.


Q. We are writing an invitation for a New Year’s Eve party which will take place on December 31, 2015. Would it be referred to as New Year’s Eve 2016 or New Year’s Eve 2015? I’ve seen it both ways but can’t seem to find an authoritative answer. Thanks!

A. Since New Year’s Eve is December 31, there should be no doubt which year it is in. However, your own confusion suggests that it is not a good idea to write “New Year’s Eve [year].” If you’re afraid your guests will show up a year late, clarify by adding month, day, and year to your invitation.

Q. In a book printed with two columns per page, how should footnotes be handled? In two columns? Running across the entire page? If the former, should the notes in each column start at the same height on the page, or is it okay for them to be at different heights?

A. Putting the notes in two columns is ideal, but you must make sure that each note falls at the foot of the column it is called out in. Because the number and length of the notes for each column might vary dramatically, it’s not practical to always begin the notes at the same height. If this is an important project, consider hiring a graphic designer who specializes in scholarly books to make these decisions based on page size, column width, words per page, length of the notes, type sizes, etc. Otherwise, just use your best aesthetic sense and aim for readability and balance.

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