Discourse Style Sheet

To accelerate the process of editing and preparing manuscripts for publication, please follow these guidelines closely. This style sheet covers some of the most common issues in preparing manuscripts for review and publication. Please consult the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition (CMS) when in doubt, or contact your editor with any questions.


All texts should be double-spaced.

For texts submitted for initial peer review, the author’s name should only appear on the separate title page. Page numbers should be in the upper right corner of each page.

The title page should also include keywords and a brief abstract.

Use only one word space between sentences and following all punctuation, including periods and colons. See CMS 2.9.

Use two hyphens (--) for em dashes (—), and do not use word spacing with em dashes--close up before and after the em dash.

Do not use the space bar to indent paragraphs. Use the tab key or first-line indent.

Use serial commas (Oxford commas) before conjunctions in lists (e.g., cats, dogs, birds, and lizards), unless the last set is a pair (e.g., Levinas, Derrida, and Deleuze and Guattari). See CMSA 6.19-6.24, 8.165, and 14.135.

Use italics (not underlining) for italic terms (foreign-language words, titles of works, etc.).

For subhead levels, use boldface for a-heads, bold italics for b-heads, and italics for c-heads. Use headline-style capitalization for these subheads: in general, capitalize all words except article adjectives (a, an, the), conjunctions, and prepositions. See CMS 8.159–160.

Do not use Word-formatted numbering to set up subheads. Type subheads on a separate line, following the font guidelines above for subhead levels.

Numbers and Dates

Spell out one through one hundred and all whole numbers above one hundred (two hundred, eight hundred, one thousand, ten million). If a paragraph requires number style (e.g., 98 people), use number style throughout the paragraph for like entities (e.g., 40 people).

For dates, use month/day/year style: “On January 20, 2021, the next inauguration occurs.” Note that a comma should appear after the year within a sentence.

For page ranges, use shortened version: e.g., 6–39, 78–199, 200–210, 402–7, 1203–369. Note that a first-page whole number (200–210) uses all numbers in the range, while a page range with zero as the second character omits the zero in the next page number (402–7).

For inclusive dates, do not omit the century in the second date: e.g., 1945–1960, 2002–2019.


Add an apostrophe and an s for singular nouns, plural nouns that do no end in s (e.g., the children’s games, the women’s movement), and singular proper nouns that end in s, x, or z (e.g., Massachusetts’s senators, Rex’s dog, Santa Cruz’s boardwalk).

For plural possessive nouns that end in s, x, or z, use es and an apostrophe (e.g., the Williamses’ business, the Marxes’ comedy).

For italic terms used in the possessive, do not italicize beyond the title or term (e.g., the Washington Post’s editorial page, tableau vivant’s similitude).

For additional information on possessives, see CMS 7.16–29.


Do not use the 3-point character “…” for ellipses.

Do not place ellipses in brackets.

Use three periods, with spacing between and before and after, for omissions within sentences, and do not begin or end quoted material with ellipses (e.g., “Use three periods . . .for omissions.”).

For sentences that trail off midthought, use three periods and close up the space between the last period and the closing quotation mark (“Until next time . . .”).

Use four periods to indicate omission between sentences (“The choice is ours. . . . So . . . let us tomorrow turn to our new task.”). If a sentence is elided and is followed by another quoted sentence, consider the last word of the elided sentence as you would any other sentence by placing the first period after the last word of the elided sentence.

For additional information on ellipses, see CMS 13.50–58.

Quotation Marks

Use double quotation marks (“like this”) for off-setting words and for quotations from other texts.

Use single quotation marks (“‘inverted commas’”)for quotations within quotations.

Punctuation—with the exception of colons, semi-colons, and question marks that are not part of the quoted material—should be placed inside the quotation marks.

For quotations of more than one hundred words (four lines), block quotations (extracts) are preferable. Do not use quotation marks for block quotes Indent extracts and add an extra line space before and after extracts.

For additional information on quotation marks, see CMS 13.20–13.38 and 8.177.


All citations should be formatted as footnotes, with one exception: book reviews. Page references to works under review should be placed in text directly following quotations from the book or at the end of the sentence where the quotation appears in parentheses.

Include all the appropriate citation information in footnotes Discourse does not use bibliographies.

Brief note commentary such as “my translation,” “emphasis mine,” etc. should be placed in parentheses.

  • Germaine Dulac, “Films Visuel et Anti-Visuel,” in Écrits sur le Cinéma (1919–1937), ed. Prosper Hillairet (Paris: Paris Experimental, 1994), 121 (my translation).

  • George Méliès, “Cinematographic Views,” trans. Stuart Liebman, October 29 (Summer 1989): 23, 26 (my emphasis).

At first use in notes, give full publication details of each work. Thereafter, use shortened versions, as indicated following the examples below.

Do not use “idem,” “op. cit.,” or “loc. cit.” in notes. The term “ibid.” should be used to reference the source in the immediately preceding note. If the immediately preceding note has more than one source, then “ibid.” cannot be used; instead, use the shortened version of the source you are citing.


The abbreviations “ed.” (for “editor,” “edited by,” and “edition”), “eds.” (for “editors”), and “trans.” (for “translated by,” “translator,” and “translators”) should be used in sources.

  • Lewis Carroll, Curiosa Mathematica, 3rd ed. (London: MacMillan, 1890).

  • Maurice Blanchot, Friendship, trans. Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford, CA: University of Stanford Press, 1997), 137 (originally published 1971).
  • Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986), 19.
  • Michael W. Jennings, Howard Eiland, and Gary Smith, eds., Selected Writings, Vol. 2, 1931–1934, trans. Rodney Livingstone et al. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004).
  • Carroll, Curiosa Mathematica, 45–50; Blanchot, Friendship, 140; Deleuze and Guattari, Kafka, 35; Jennings, Eiland, and Smith, Selected Writings, 12.

Chapter in an Edited Anthology

If citing a single page or a page range in an essay, place the page number at the end of the source. If citing the entire essay, place the page range after editor/translator names.

  • André Bazin, “Science Film: Accidental Beauty” in Science is Fiction: The Films of Jean Painlevé, ed. Andy Masaki Bellows and Marina McDougall with Brigitte Berg, trans. Jeanine Herman (San Francisco: Brico, 2000), 148.

  • Walter Benjamin, “A Family Drama in the Epic Theater,” in Selected Writings, Vol. 2, 1931–1934, ed. Michael W. Jennings, Howard Eiland, and Gary Smith, trans. Rodney Livingstone et al., 559–62 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004).
  • Bazin, “Science Film,” 145; Benjamin, “A Family Drama in the Epic Theater,” 560.
  • Journal Article

    If you are not citing an entire journal essay, give only the page number(s) you are referencing (first example).

    • Fatimah Tobing Rony, “The Photogenic Cannot Be Tamed: Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson’s Trance and Dance in Bali,” Discourse 28.1 (Winter 2006): 7.
    • Laurent Mannoni, “Progressive Slides towards Pleasure: Remarks on the Chronophotographic Oeuvre of Marey and Demenÿ” 1895 no. 18 (Summer 1995): 11-52.
    • Rony, “The Photogenic Cannot Be Tamed,” 7; Mannoni, “Progressive Slides towards Pleasure,” 39.

    Unpublished Communications

    For e-mails, interviews by author, personal communications, etc., provide complete dates. If month/day/year are not available, use month/year or at least year.

    • Jane Smith, interview by author, August 18, 2020.
    • John Doe, personal communication, June 4, 2019.
    • Smith interview, August 18, 2020; Doe communication, June 4, 2019.

    Online Sources

    For online sources that are also available in print, italicize the name of the website as you would any other periodical. For online-only sources, do not italicize the website name. If no author is given, begin the source with the article/web page title. Note that page numbers should not be included for online sources.

    Access dates are generally not necessary. Include the access date if you are citing an online source that is no longer available, but best practice is to locate a currently available version of the source.

    • Janette Bertrand, “Le manifeste des ‘Janette’--Aux femmes du Québec,” Le Devoir, October 15, 2013, http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/quebec/389956/aux-femmes-du-quebec.
    • Svenja Bromberg, “The Anti-Political Aesthetics of Objects and Worlds Beyond,” Mute, July 25, 2013, http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/anti-political-aesthetics-objects-and-worlds-beyond.
    • “Online Source: No Author, No Longer Available,” Website Name, Date, URL (accessed November 9, 1999).
    • Bertrand, “The Anti-Political Aesthetics of Objects and Worlds Beyond”; Bromberg, “The Anti-Political Aesthetics of Objects and Worlds Beyond”; “Online Source.”

    Inserts (Figures, Tables, etc)

    All figures, tables, etc.should be sequentially numbered, and captioned called out, either in the text of a sentence (“The graph in Figure 1 indicates . . .”) or in parentheses, usually at the end of a sentence: “He lifts a carriage to save the driver from being crushed (Figure 1).”

    Photographs should be supplied as high-resolution TIF or JPG files. Resolution should be approximately 300 dpi at actual printed size (i.e., the size when printed in the journal).

    Add insert tags (<INSERT Smith Figure 1>) on a separate line following the paragraph where an insert is first mentioned. Note that the author name should appear in the insert tag.

    After first mention of a figure, table, etc., use “see Figure 1” in parentheses if the figure number is not worked into the sentence text.

    Provide each insert in a separate file. Filenames should include the author’s last name and the figure, table, etc. number: e.g., Smith Figure 1.

    Place figure/image captions in a separate section at the very end of the essay file. Table captions should appear in the table file above the table.