In the interests of keeping this document as brief as possible, the student is referred to three other, more detailed resources, that will help you improve your writing or get clarification on some point of punctuation or usage. The first is usually referred to as “Turabian.” This document always refers to the 7th edition. The second reference, Hudson and Townsend, provides additional information specifically for works dealing with the Bible and Christian subjects. All these books are available in the reference section of our library. In addition to these print materials, wikipedia is an excellent online source for finding definitions and rules for grammar and writing. When it comes to creating bibliographies and adding footnotes to a written assignment, Zotero is a free online tool that will easily create Turabian-style bibliographies and footnotes from material gathered online, from subscription databases, library catalogs, etc. For a brief tutorial, click here.
Turabian Quick Guide
II. General layout:
- The title page should conform to the guidelines on page 378-79 of Turabian.
- All pages, except for the first, should be numbered.
- All papers should be double-spaced, unless the professor indicates otherwise.
- Use a common, professional font such as Times New Roman or Calibri.
- Set right and left margins of 1.25 inches. Top and bottom margins of 1 inch.
- All quotes longer than five lines should be made into single-spaced, block quotes. (cf. Turabian 25.2.2)
- Left margins should be justified; right margins should be unjustified.
- Do not use endnotes.
- Use footnotes for citation purposes only. Do not make many side remarks or develop thoughts in footnotes. If the thought is important, move it to the body of the paper. If not, eliminate it.
- Use the style of citation laid out in Turabian 15.3.1 or here.
- It is assumed that every major paper you write will have a bibliography. Consult Turabian chapter 17 or our website for the accepted format.
- Do not use abbreviations like, loc. cit., op. cit., or ibid.
- Scripture citations should follow this format: “I am the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Acceptable abbreviations for Bible books are:
Gen. Ex. Lev. Num. Deut. Josh. Judg. Ruth 1 Sam. 2 Sam. 1 Kings 2 Kings 1 Chron. 2 Chron. Ezra Neh. Esth. Job Ps. (plural Pss.) Prov. Eccl. Song Isa. Jer. Lam. Ezek. Dan. Hos. Joel Amos Obad. Jonah Mic. Nah. Hab. Zeph. Hag. Zech. Mal. Matt. Mark Luke John Acts Rom. 1 Cor. 2 Cor. Gal. Eph. Phil. Col. 1 Thess. 2 Thess. 1 Tim. 2 Tim. Titus Philemon Heb. James 1 Peter 2 Peter 1 John 2 John 3 John Jude Rev.
- For a list of Latin theological terms and their meanings see Richard Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms.
- For a list of Latin abbreviations and their meanings, see wikipedia.
Commas – There are detailed instructions on when to use commas in chapter 21 of Turabian. If you can’t master all these, please do observe the following basic rules:
- Use a comma after introductory words, phrases, clauses (Turabian 21.2.4).
- Separate the independent clauses in a compound sentence with a comma and a coordinating conjunction.
- Appositives always get commas.
- Do not use a comma to separate the predicates in a sentence with a compound predicate.
Quotation marks – The only time you should use single quotation marks is if you have a quote inside another quote. Otherwise, you should always use the regular quotation marks “…”.
Other marks – As much as possible, avoid using punctuation marks like dashes, slashes, parentheses, and hyphens.
To ensure good flow and organization, create an outline for your paper and use it as a framework for your ideas. Your professor will be able to understand your paper’s aim and structure better if you show him your outline. Generally, you will include this outline with your paper when you submit it for grading.
Please consult chapters 12-13 in Strunk & White and Turabian 9.3 for information on the importance and use of paragraphs.
- Your paper should always be organized into paragraphs which follow the flow of reasoning you laid out in your outline.
- Each paragraph should center around a single thought.
- Be sure that your introduction and conclusion are clearly delineated (Turabian 9.1). Your thesis should be in both.
- It is inconsiderate to hand in a paper that has numerous and/or obvious proofreading errors. Read your paper at least twice to avoid embarrassing yourself and inconveniencing your professor. It is not sufficient merely to run a spell-check.
- For additional help on writing style, you can consult chapter 16 of Strunk and White. In general, you should try to write in simple and unadorned diction. Do not try to imitate the writing style of your favorite Puritan, preacher, or author. Simple, concrete, and definite language is always to be preferred over complex, abstract, and vague. In general, write sentences that conform to one of the four standard sentence types. If you can’t classify your sentences into one of these four types, then it probably needs to be re-written.
- Do not multiply figures of speech and metaphors. (Strunk p. 80)
X. A Thesis
Understand the difference between a thesis and a topic. Assume that all papers written for PRTS require a thesis, in addition to your topic. The only exception to this is if your professor explicitly states otherwise.