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Editorial Style Guide

General Style Preferences

Foreign Words
If the word or phrase is not likely to be understood universally, italicize and provide an explanation: errare humanum est, a Latin phrase meaning “to err is human.” Certain terms may be used without explanation if they are clear in the context: She graduated summa cum laude.

Some foreign words and their abbreviations have been accepted into the English language and need not be italicized; for example: bon voyage; El NiƱo; emeritus, emerita; étude; haute cuisine, haute couture; glasnost, perestroika; in vitro; protégé; résumé; versus, vs.; et cetera, etc. If in doubt, assume that the word is too familiar in English to be treated as foreign.

When using foreign words (including proper names), include the appropriate accent marks: authors include Guiraldes, Carpentier, Cortàzar, and García Márquez. However, if the text will appear in a computer markup language (HTML, XML), be aware that these special characters require specific codes to render properly in browsers. A chart of the codes for some commonly used special characters is included at the end of this guide; a full list is available at

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