I'm interested in the rules set by the Chicago Manual of Style.

If I take a block quotation that starts with the following sentence:

"To simplify: math and geometry are such and such"

And if I leave out "To Simplify:" and start with the word math instead, do I have to indicate with ellipsis (...) that I've left out words at the beginning, like this:

... math and geometry are such and such

Or can I skip ellipsis? And if so, must I capitalize math with brackets, like this:

[M]ath and geometry are such and such

Or can I simply start my block quotation like this:

Math and geometry are such and such

I've consulted the two links below, but I don't know if the suggestions given there are also in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style:

Link 1

Link 2

1 Answer 1


Here's the best explanation of whether you need brackets, from the CMOS website:

The brackets are obligatory only if the capitalization is part of the subject under discussion, which is rare outside of legal or textual criticism documents.

(This matches up with what the book says, which is quoted here.)

Also, CMOS style says to not use an ellipsis at the start of a quote.

  • I don't understand the CMOS' answer. If I'm quoting a book by academics, should I use brackets or not? And what about the ellipsis? Mar 24, 2019 at 15:06
  • 1
    @user3776022 Like the quote says, it depends entirely on why you are quoting it. You don't need brackets indicating a change in capitalization unless you are doing legal writing or textual criticism or you're talking about the capitalization. Also, I added something about ellipses.
    – Laurel
    Mar 24, 2019 at 15:21

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