Questions From Users of the Manual

Q:    When a bulleted list is introduced by a brief comment, eg, “The principal signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are as follows,” and all of the items in the bulleted list are from the same source, does a citation need to be placed at the end of each bulleted item or is it sufficient to place the citation at the end of the brief introductory comment?

A:    We would recommend placing the citation within the text that introduces the bulleted list if all the items in the list came from the same source.  If the items came from multiple sources, then placing the appropriate citation at the end of each item would be necessary.

Q:    In this example, would you hyphenate “well child”?

  • He was taken for a well-child [or well child] checkup.

A:    Yes, we would hyphenate in this case.

Q:    The Manual says nothing about how to treat reference citations in the abstract.  Should such citations simply be deleted from the abstract and from the reference list or should complete bibliographic details about the reference be inserted in the abstract parenthetically?

A:    You are quite right that the Manual does not mention how to treat references in the abstract as we never include reference citations (either as superscript numbers or within parentheses in the text) in the abstract (see 2.3, fourth bullet, re not citing references in an abstract).  If an author has included references in an abstract, it doesn’t seem advisable to delete the references altogether.  Discuss with the author trying to include the references early on in the manuscript itself.  It seems unlikely that an author would consider a reference important enough to include in the abstract and then not cite it in the text.

Q:   I don’t see anything in the Manual about how to style “e-mail,” ie, with or without a hyphen.  Help, please.

A:   Although the Manual doesn’t specifically address this point, it does include guidance on capping (see 10.7) and, in that section, it’s clear that the Manual recommends a hyphen in “e-mail.”  If you use the Manual online, for questions like this the “quick search” box is invaluable.  Just type the term you are looking for into the search box and the results should guide you.  If you had begun with “email,” you would have gotten no results, which would—I hope—have tipped you off to try “e-mail,” which produces 3 pages of results.—Cheryl Iverson, MA

4 thoughts on “Questions From Users of the Manual

  1. Hi there,

    The reply suggests that the AMA style is to hyphenate the abbreviation of electronic mail as ‘e-mail’, yet in several places on the web page, including this submission form, it appears as ’email.’ Is the style of the AMA website intentionally different from the manual? Or am I misreading the reply? I tend to not use a hyphen in email, for purposes of brevity, but I’m interested in what is considered correct.

    • Hi, you’re right that the sidebar and some other pages have “email.” I think that was a WordPress out-of-the-box thing that we just overlooked! I will see if it can be changed in the template. AMA style for “e-mail” definitely uses the hyphen, although my personal opinion is that the word will become “dehyphenized” in the very near future.

      —Brenda Gregoline

  2. What about ellipses added to a quote? The Chicago Manual of Style says not to add brackets around the added ellipses, the APA says add brackets…and the AMA says nothing, or ??

    • The AMA Manual does not directly address the question of bracketing (or not bracketing) ellipses used in a quotation; however, in the section on ellipses (8.8), which contains a number of examples of omissions within a quotation, no brackets are used. So, our policy would generally be not to bracket ellipses added to quotations to indicate an omission.

      However, if an author has used ellipses in his or her own writing, bracketing the ellipses introduced by the person quoting from this author, and omitting part of the quotation, would be important so that the reader would know that these were not the author’s ellipses but rather those of the writer quoting the author. The Chicago Manual, in section 13.56 on bracketed ellipses, describes this particular situation and provides advice on how to address it. In consulting Chicago on this point, I also learned about a punctuation mark unfamiliar to me: suspension points. A French cousin to ellipses. Read more about that in Chicago, section 13.35.

      —Cheryl Iverson

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