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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A US Copy Editor's Perspective: Ellipses per 16CMS

In a previous post I explained why I use the ellipsis keystroke [Shift+Ctrl+(period key)] in my own creations. As an author, I was kinda/sorta following 16CMS 13.48 (except for the before and after spaces required). But as the copy editor of my fiction and nonfiction alike, I was not then fixing that author-allowed shortcut per Chicago's further instructions within that same rule. Which was my personal choice as relates to my books.

NOTE: As a freelance copy editor working for different publishing houses, I am bound by any house rules that override Chicago's rules and have to proceed accordingly. Therefore, I was allowed to use the ellipsis keystroke for one, but not another. However, with a third, there are no house rules.
In that particular environment, if certain text isn't following 16CMS, I can correct it or not—noting its deviation from Chicago. So if a particular novel is consistently presenting without the serial comma, in my overview I comment that this is the author's preference and remains unchanged, even though 16CMS 6.18 states otherwise.
That way the author is informed that this construction is not per accepted US copyediting standards (although I totally disagree on the general serial comma usage; see earlier post). Whether that author keeps to her preference or decides to change it to align with 16CMS is totally up to her. But I've shared the industry standard, which is my responsibility, and the author decides how to proceed, which is the author's responsibility for works with her name on it.

So with my copy editor's hat firmly in place, I am presenting here the general rule, strictly per 16CMS 13.48, ignoring any exceptions for now.

In General

First, one normal space (not like the hard spaces discussed below) precedes the ellipsis/suspension points.

Second, an ellipsis is formed by three periods separated by two nonbreaking spaces (aka hard spaces) that won't split up those elements to make for strange line breaks, followed by a third hard space. This explains those weird-looking degree symbols we sometimes see in text. So type the first period, then the first hard space [Shift+Ctrl+(space bar)], the second period, the second hard space, then the third period, the third hard space.

That completes the ellipsis character as per 16CMS 13.48. Then continue typing your text as planned.

One of Many Exceptions

Chicago discusses further how to use the ellipsis with other punctuation, but such spawns more exceptions. So for the author's purposes, only one of these is really necessary to know. Per 16CMS 13.51, periods precede (not follow) the use of an ellipsis.

That's right. When needed, end a complete sentence with a period. Then follow the ellipsis routine above with a normal space, the ellipsis period/hard space routine and continue with your text.

Hope this added information is not confusing and easy to implement.

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra

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