Gwynne's Grammar: The Ultimate Introduction to Grammar and the Writing of Good English (2014)

Part II. Strunk on Style

Chapter 4. A Few Matters of Form

Headings. Leave a blank line, or its equivalent in space, after the title or heading of a manuscript. On succeeding pages, if using ruled paper, begin on the first line.

Numerals. Do not spell out dates or other serial numbers. Write them in figures or in Roman notation, as may be appropriate. Thus:

9th August 1918. [Illogically, because logically the order would be shortest, second shortest, third shortest of the three elements of time listed in any date, it has long been “August 9, 1918” in America, a usage which has infected British usage during the last two or three decades.]

Chapter XII.

Rule 3.

352nd Infantry.

Parentheses. A sentence containing an expression in parenthesis is punctuated, outside the marks of parenthesis, exactly as if the expression in parenthesis were absent. The expression within is punctuated as if it stood by itself, except that the final stop is omitted unless it is a question mark or an exclamation mark. Examples:

“I went to his house yesterday (my third attempt to see him), but he had left town.”

“He declares (and why should we doubt his good faith?) that he is now certain of success.”

[When a wholly detached expression or sentence is parenthesised, the final stop comes before the last mark of parenthesis; in other words, inside the bracket which closes it—as in this wholly detached sentence inside a parenthesis.]

Quotations. Formal quotations, cited as documentary evidence, are introduced by a colon and enclosed in quotation marks. Thus:

“The provision of the Constitution is: ‘No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.’ ”

Quotations grammatically in apposition or the direct objects of verbs are preceded by a comma and enclosed in quotation marks. Thus:

“I recall a maxim of La Rochefoucauld’s, ‘Gratitude is a lively sense of benefits to come.’ ”

“Aristotle says, ‘Art is an imitation of nature.’ ”

Quotations introduced by “that” are regarded as being in indirect discourse and not enclosed in quotation marks. Thus:

“Keats declares that beauty is truth, truth beauty.”

Proverbial expressions and familiar phrases of literary origin require no quotation marks. Thus:

These are the times that try men’s souls.

He lives far from the madding crowd.

The same is true of colloquialisms and slang.

References. In scholarly work requiring exact references, abbreviate titles that occur frequently, giving the full forms in an alphabetical list at the end. As a general practice, give the references in parenthesis or in footnotes, not in the body of the sentence. Omit the words “act,” “scene,” “line,” “book,” “volume,” “page,” except when referring to only one of them. Punctuate as indicated below.

Thus “In the second scene of the third act” should be shown as “In III, ii.” Still better, simply insert “III, ii” in parenthesis at the proper place in the sentence.

Other examples:

“After the killing of Polonius, Hamlet is placed under guard (IV, ii, 14).”

“2 Samuel 1:17–27.”

Othello, II, iii, 264–267; III, iii, 155–161.”

Titles. For the titles of literary works, scholarly usage prefers italics with capitalised initials. The usage of editors and publishers varies, some using italics with capitalised initials, others using Roman with capitalised initials and with or without quotation marks. Use italics (indicated in manuscript by underscoring), except in writing for a periodical that follows a different practice. Thus, The Iliad. The Odyssey. As You Like It. A Tale of Two Cities.