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S T Y L E   G U I D E
This style guide represents part of our effort to maintain consistency among the articles published in The Journal of the Historical Society. In addition to the editors of The Journal, Blackwell Publishing will copy edit all articles to conform to their standards. Questions about this style guide are welcome and should be directed to Scott Hovey, Managing Editor, at 617-358-0260 or historic@bu.edu .

    Grammar Check
    If you have a grammar-check function on your word processor, use it, but do not allow it to use you. It will offer useful information at times, but you do not have to agree to every change it proposes. A good grammar text is still a writer's best friend.

    A comma comes before "and" or "or" in a series of three or more items:
      Students are required to take courses in math, science, English, and history.
      Students are not required to take courses in wrestling, interior design, music theory, or sculpting.
    Commas are used to set off introductory clauses, phrases, and words:
      As soon as she entered the room, she knew she had made a mistake.
    Commas are used between independent clauses (clauses that contain a noun and a verb) in a sentence:
      As soon as she entered the room, she knew she had made a mistake, and she immediately withdrew before anyone saw her.

    Please refrain from using contractions such as itís, isn't, there's, or they're, except when they appear in direct quotes.

    Please limit endnotes to the minimum needed to support your assertions. Please follow the Chicago Manual of Style and include publishers in endnotes.
    Gender - Neutral Language

    The Journal does not require the use of gender-neutral language, provided the language is consistent throughout and the meaning is clear. Please refrain from using "s/he" in place of "he or she."
    Gerund Phrases and Participial Phrases

    Gerund phrases contain present participles (the form of the verb that ends in -ing) and always function as nouns in a sentence:
      Justifying a fault will only double it.
      He was running a fever when he ran the race.
    Gerund phrases should be treated as singular nouns:
      Encountering busy signals is a problem for customers.
    Because gerund phrases function as nouns, they require the possessive form:
      Her refusing his offer led to a break in their relations.
    Participial phrases contain either a present participle (the form of the verb that ends in -ing) or a past participle (the form of the verb that usually ends in -d, -ed, -n, -en, or -t). Participial phrases always function as adjectives and are usually set off with commas:
      History is produced by historians, writing about events they did not witness.
      History is something that never happened, written by someone who was not there.

    Quotation Marks
    Commas and periods go inside quotation marks. Colons and semicolons go outside quotation marks. Question marks and exclamation points go either inside or outside quotation marks, depending on the meaning of the sentence:
      She asked, "Why did you share that information with him?"
      I cannot believe he said, "That is impossible"!

    "Which" is used for nonrestrictive adjective clauses, which should be set off with commas. Nonrestrictive clauses can be removed from a sentence without altering the meaning of the sentence:
      The university, which was located in a small town, offered an extensive library for its students.
    "That" is used for restrictive adjective clauses, and no comma is necessary. The removal of a restrictive clause will significantly alter the meaning of a sentence:
      A student at a university that has a large library will benefit from his or her access to its holdings.
    The grammar check function on advanced versions of Microsoft Word knows this rule too well, and it will almost always highlight sentences that use "which" or "that." It is helpful, except when it is wrong.
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