Use commas to separate three or more items in a series; include a comma before the “and” at the end of the series: as in “minivans, SUVs, battered Hondas, and old Volvos.” (This is called, by Algonquin, “the series comma.)


Use commas to set off long non-restrictive phrases and clauses in a sentence.


Set off nonrestrictive (explanatory) appositives with commas: for ex.: on page 15: 2nd line: insert comma after New Year: “…after Rosh Hasana, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur….”


Use a comma to set off direct dialogue from the conversation “tag.” Ex. He said, “No.”


There are no spaces between the beginning of an em-dash and the end of one: e.g.: My brother—his name was John—died in 1986.


Usually, enclose spoken dialogue and anything written (excerpts from E-mails, letters, diaries, etc.) with double quotation marks. For possible exceptions in this book, see p. 14, under OTHER STYLE NOTES.)


Usually, enclose quotations within quotations with single quotation marks.


Any punctuation immediately preceding or following italicized words is to be set in italics. Ex. Where am I headed? I wondered. Ex. Her thought (I’ll never have children) distressed her.


Usually, an independent clause as a single sentence ends with a period or other kind of “full stop”: question mark, exclamation point, for example—but NOT with a comma. However, the colloquial style of this book permits usage of the “comma splice” as long as the clauses are at least somewhat closely related.


Do not insert a comma between a coordinating conjunction and the subject of the sentence: ex. NOT “So, I church-hopped….” BUT “So I church-hopped…” (page 29)


Set off words such as too and however with commas—unless a word like however (subordinating conjunction) begins a dependent clause—in which case a semicolon comes before the conjunction, and a comma after it.






Cardinal numbers from 1 to 99 should be spelled out, in most cases. Ex.: 20 should be spelled twenty. Exceptions uncorrected (or queried) in text.


Ordinal numbers from 1st to 99th should be spelled out, in most cases. Ex. 20th should be spelled out twentieth. Exceptions left uncorrected (or queried) in text.


Use numerals and the designation A. M. or P. M. (or “ in the morning,” “in the afternoon,” etc.) for exact times: ex. : 6:45 P. M. or 6:45 in the evening. Use small capitals for A. M. and P. M.—as: a.m., p.m.


Spell out approximate times or “rounded off” times: ex.: “Around nine, we went swimming.” Ex. “Church services are held at nine and eleven in the morning.”


(The colloquial style of this book allows for some leeway in number usage—which I’ve noted in ms.)











The main words of chapter titles in Table of Contents and at the beginning of each chapter should be capitalized.


Words designating the parts of a book are usually not capitalized: e.g.: Luther’s preface (page 8).


Contrary to usual CMS practice, the pronouns referring to God, Lord, Jesus, Christ in this book will be capitalized—primarily because the last paragraph of page 56 seems to indicate that capitalized deity-pronouns are the author’s preference. The pronouns should be consistently capitalized, however—unless they are not capitalized in a quotation from another source.


The first word of dialogue (when preceded by a “tag” such as “he wrote” or “she asked”) should be capitalized. The same holds true for the first word of italicized interior monologue and italicized dialogue—see page 9, final paragraph.


To form the possessive case of a proper name of more than one syllable and ending in s, just add an apostrophe after the final s. Ex. Jesus’ cross—NOT Jesus’s cross. See CMS, 6.26 and 6.27. Also see Words into Type, p. 479.


Use Roman type and enclose in quotations:


·        direct quotations of written text or dialogue (including scripture, formalized prayer, services, blessings, and other “ritual” dialogue)

·        definitions following the word or phrase defined

·        translations following foreign words or phrases



Use Italic type:


·        thought, interior dialogue, interior monologue

·        hypothetical or imagined dialogue

·        remembered dialogue that is loosely paraphrased

·        refrains or repetitions of phrases previously stated or quoted

·        foreign words and phrases not in Webster’s 10th (editors have suggested roman type for each foreign word that appears in Webster’s 10th, which indicates that it is accepted as common American usage—see further discussion below:)



Modern practice is to set foreign words in roman type—IF the words are in Webster’s 10th (or a similarly authoritative dictionary) AND, therefore, are familiar to most educated American readers. A W’s 10th un-italicized entry for the foreign word means that the word has become accepted into American usage. Even so, an occasional foreign word—even if it IS in W’s 10th—may require italics—if, at the discretion of the copyeditor—and by permission from the author—the foreign word is likely to be unfamiliar to most American readers.


In general: Use italics for foreign words NOT in W’s 10th; use roman type for foreign words IN W’s 10th.


(Exceptions to the above I’ve noted in the ms.)


Titles of  continuing TV series are italicized: as in Oprah.


Words used as words are usually italicized, according to Algonquin House style: examples: “…that included words like grace and saved and sin.” (page 52 of MS)




Keep verb tenses consistent, unless there is a change in time: ex. on page 14, last line: meant has been changed to means.


Use present tense in presenting explanations or actions in a written work: Ex. Faulkner suggests in The Hamlet that the Snopes family is…. Another ex.: page 15, last paragraph of Losing: “the author explains that dancing is….” (explained changed to explains; was changed to is)










Use hyphens in color compounds with terms of equal importance and not denoting a blend of colors. Ex: page 16: 2nd paragraph: hyphens inserted into “gold and magenta” to make “gold-and-magenta”


Since the book is largely colloquial in style, use the spelling “email” and “emails” as opposed to Webster’s  preferred spelling: “E-mail”/E-mails.” Very recent usage seems to find “email” or “e-mail” frequently used spellings.


According to the author’s style: 1) Do NOT indent beginning of first paragraph of a chapter, 2) Do NOT indent beginning of first paragraph after SB1 (Space Break 1: *********, 3) DO indent the beginnings of all other paragraphs—including each paragraph that follows SB2 (Space Break 2: white space.) NOTE TO PROOFREADER: Indentation style will ultimately be determined by designer of book. Just check for consistency at chapter opener, at opening sentence after SB1s, and at opening sentence after SB2s per book’s (author’s) style.