Reading Religion Style Guide

Reading Religion House Style Guidelines

Last Updated: March 10, 2022

For all matters not specifically addressed here, please follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Ed.:


  • Plural possessives are formed with only an apostrophe (Jesus’, not Jesus’s)
  • Use double quotes (single quotes only within double quotes; please see Quotations and Dialogue)
  • Use serial (Oxford) comma
  • Use gender-neutral language when gender is unknown (they/their is acceptable; please see CMS 5.255 on gender-neutrality)
  • No space between initials in names (E.B. White, not E. B. White)
  • List the full name of all individuals on the first reference; use only last name thereafter
  • Understand the use of which versus that (please see CMS 6.27 for differences between restrictive and non-restrictive clauses)
  • Omit ellipses at the beginning and end of quotes (with a possible exception for dialogue)
  • Silently capitalize or lowercase initial letter of quote
  • Spell out acronyms once, use (almost) exclusively thereafter
  • Italicize all uncommon foreign words at every instance and provide an English translation in parentheses in the first instance.
  • Set words used as words in italics if they are not in double quotes
  • Do not italicize punctuation with italicized words
  • Do not leave two spaces after a period
  • Exempli gratia and Idi est should be abbreviated only in parentheses, and with a comma following (e.g., or i.e.,); however, it is better not to use Latin in the text—use “for example” and “that is.”
  • Use en dashes for page and year ranges (1–6; 1939–1987) and em dashes without spaces to set off a phrase in a sentence (“There are simple alternatives to plastic shopping bags—namely, reusable cloth bags and foldable carts.”)


  • Write out all numbers one to one hundred, except as percentages (16 percent, not sixteen percent)
  • Write out large, round whole numbers
  • Use ordinals for centuries (19th century, not nineteenth century)


  • Use “down” style, lowercasing generally, particularly official titles standing alone (the president), traditional casing in actual titles (President Lincoln); biblical, religious studies, Islamic studies, history of religions
  • Capitalize/italicize titles of book series, do not put in double quotes
  • Use American spelling, not British (analyze, not analyse)
  • For example, not e.g. (except in parentheses; see CMS 6.51)
  • That is, not i.e. (except in parentheses; see CMS 6.51)
  • Lowercase book parts/use numerals and complete terms for book parts: part 2, chapter 11 (not Part I, Chapter XI, chap.)
  • Common terms not capitalized (internet, web, website, e-mail,
  • Numbered lists in text should be given with Arabic numerals in parentheses, and semicolons between clauses (e.g., we will (1) copy edit the text; (2) return it to the author; (3) wait for author approval; and (4) post the review to the website)
  • Western, the West when referring to the Occident (except westernization; otherwise lowercase)
  • Orient, Eastern, the East when referring to the Orient (except oriental and orientalism; otherwise lowercase)
  • Other (capitalized) only when used as specific reference to those seen as different (the Other)


  • Use page numbers in parentheses for references to the reviewed text
  • For citations to other works—which should be kept to a minimum—put the entire citation in parentheses before the period that closes the sentence, as in this example: (Karen Armstrong, Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, Anchor, 2015).  (Note: city of publication and page number are not included)


  • Insert direct hyperlinks when referencing other titles in Reading Religion inventory or specific website content referenced