Common-place Style Sheet

General Guidelines

Write for an educated, but not scholarly reader. And write for the Web. Our readers range from history buffs to museum curators, from antiques collectors to scholars. We aim to provide this readership with lively, sophisticated essays and features. As a Web publication, we are particularly concerned about engaging readers with little patience for reading text on screen. Short paragraphs, clear sentences, and jargon-free narratives make for easy online reading. Strive for prose that's eloquent, if breezy: serious, but not ponderous.


Submission Information

Common-place does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Authors who wish to publish in Common-place should first e-mail queries to the Administrative Editor, as described on our "How to Contribute" page.


Author Agreement
All authors are required to complete and submit an electronic author agreement form.


Format Requirements

Common-place is a paperless publication. Please submit your double-spaced manuscript as a Microsoft Word for Windows document. Attach the file in an e-mail to our Administrative Editor, who will route your submission to the appropriate Editor or Column Editor.


Author biographies

Please include with your submission a brief, magazine-style author biography that includes your name, institutional affiliations and departments, and a short statement of your major publications and research interests.


Illustrations and Permissions

Authors are responsible for securing photographic and other reproductions, as well as permission to publish them on the Web. For every image, recording, and other reproduction, authors must submit to the Administrative Editor a completed Permission Form signed by the copyright holder. (This forms is in .pdf format, viewable and printable with Adobe Acrobat, a free program.) Authors should use the following formats for enhancements to the texts of their submissions:

Images should be submitted as JPG or .GIF files. Files in .PICT, .TIFF, and .BMP formats are also acceptable.

Audio clips can be submitted as .WAV or .MP3 files.

Video clips should use the .MOV (QuickTime) file format.

Questions concerning format and graphics not answered in this Style Sheet should be directed to the Administrative Editor .


General Issues of Substance, Style, and Grammar

Except in the few instances described below, Common-place follows the Chicago Manual of Style (14th Edition). Authors are encouraged to consult the Chicago Manual as they prepare their manuscripts.

Gender-Neutral Language: Please observe an editorial preference for gender-neutral language.

Fact checking: Authors should confirm the dates of events mentioned in their submissions, as well as the spellings of the names of obscure persons and places.

Quotations: Authors may, at their discretion, modernize spelling or punctuation if such is necessary to avoid misunderstanding or confusion. Any other error of spelling or grammar in quoted material should be identified by the use of [sic]. Further interpolations or alterations of quotations should be avoided, but when necessary, ought to be indicated by the use of brackets. Finally, lengthy quotations should be set off and indented only if the quoted material runs ten or more typed lines or involves more than one paragraph. For additional guidance on the use of quotations, please consult the Chicago Manual §10.

Dates: When day, month, and year are included in a date, it should be written as follows: July 4, 1776. If the day is omitted, no comma is necessary between the month and the year.

Offices, Titles, and Names: Offices and titles should be spelled out. For example, Governor John Winthrop is preferred to Gov. John Winthrop. One exception is the use of St. for Saint in the names of persons and places. For names bearing any of the suffixes Sr., Jr., III, IV, and so on, commas should be omitted between the last name and the suffix. Thus Josiah Quincy Jr. is preferred to Josiah Quincy, Jr.

En and Em Dashes: Common-place prefers the use of single hyphens for en dashes. For hyphenated asides—such as this one—please use an em dash without spaces between the words that immediately precede and follow it. Please note that many word processing programs, in their default settings, will automatically format double hyphens as em dashes. Authors should avoid such formatting by adjusting their default settings or by retyping double hyphens.

Ellipses: Authors should in all instances denote elisions with three dots, with one space before and after each dot.

Numbers: As a general rule, whole numbers less than one hundred should be spelled out, but see Chicago Manual §8 for exceptions.

Websites: If in the text of a submission the author wishes to refer to a Website, that reference should include the name of the Website in plain text, followed by a bracketed notation to embed the link of the Website's URL, as in the following example:

Both are explored in a new Website, Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture: A Multi-Media Archive.

Subsequent references to the same Website should be italicized. If a Website's title itself contains italics, please indicate those italics as Roman characters.

Serial Commas: Please use commas to separate elements in a series. If a conjunction precedes the final element in a series, please use a comma before the conjunction. For further guidance on the use of commas, please consult the Chicago Manual §5.

Hyphenation: For the hyphenation of compound words and phrases, please see the Chicago Manual §6, and especially Table 6.1.

Capitalization: For the capitalization of names and terms, please consult the Chicago Manual §7. Additionally, please note that certain words associated with the Internet, the World Wide Web, and other technological resources have not yet obtained uniform usage. Common-place adheres to the following spellings and capitalization:



home page




Web page




World Wide Web

Plural Possessives: The possessive of plural nouns is formed by the addition of an apostrophe and an s subject to the exceptions delineated in the Chicago Manual §6.



Works under review: Please place at the review's header a citation to the work under review, including the authors name, the title, the place of publication and the publication house, the date of publication, the number of pages, and the price, as in the following example:

Jon Butler, Becoming America: The Revolution Before 1776. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000. 320 pp., $27.95.

Footnotes and Endnotes: In keeping with the nature of the journal, Common-place does not accept footnotes or endnotes. In lieu of these, authors are welcome to include with their submissions lists of works or brief bibliographic essays that will direct the reader to relevant materials for "Further Reading."

Information to be Included in Lists of Works and Brief Bibliographic Essays: In general, please adhere to the style outlined in the Chicago Manual §§15.58 and 15.62. For all primary and secondary materials discussed in a list of works or a bibliographic essay, include the author, title, place and year of publication, and other information necessary to direct the reader to the referenced material, except that the names of publishing houses should be omitted. When providing place names, if it should be necessary to identify a state, please do not use the two-letter form of abbreviation used for mailing addresses. So, for example, Cambridge, Mass. is preferred to Cambridge, MA. Please refer to the Chicago Manual §14.17 for accepted geographical abbreviations. Finally, p. and pp. should not be used, and 115-16 is preferred to 115-116.

The following bibliographic essay is offered as a model to guide authors:

Further Reading:

The Duke of Newcastle's remark can be found in Richard Middleton, The Bells of Victory (Cambridge, 1985); Reinhart Koselleck's in his Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time, trans. Keith Tribe (Cambridge, Mass., 1985); and Jeremy Bentham's in University College London, Bentham Papers, XXV:58. On the Seven Years' War as the last "war of religion," see Johannes Burkhardt, Abschied vom Religionskrieg: der Siebenjahrige Krieg und die papstliche Diplomatie (Tübingen, 1985). For aspects of the cultural history of the Seven Years' War in Britain see, for example, Sir John Summerson, Georgian London (London, 1945); Robert Donald Spector, English Literary Periodicals and the Climate of Opinion during the Seven Years' War (The Hague, 1966); and Peter De Bolla, The Discourse of the Sublime (Oxford, 1989).

Parenthetical Page References: In book reviews or other articles that primarily reference a single text, authors may use parenthetical page references to document quotations from that text. In such cases, the parenthetical page reference should appear within the punctuation of the documented sentence. Additionally, please note that p. and pp. should not be used, as noted above. So, for example, a book review of Jon Butler's Becoming America might include a sentence and parenthetical page reference such as:

Butler protests that the Declaration "never mentioned Christ and never cited Old or New Testament verses to support the American cause" (243-44).


Proofreading your online galleys

After the Designer has typeset your essay, we will notify you to view your page for final proofreading. Substantive editing changes cannot be made after your page is designed. Please make your original typescript as clear and clean as possible.


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