When I need to cite a range of pages in a source, I (well, LaTeX) write:

See Smith (2010:30–34)

Similarly, when I need to reference a range of sections, I write:

See Smith (2010:§§3.1–3.4)

For a reference of a single chapter:

See Smith (2010:ch. 3)

But today, for the first time ever, I need to reference a range of chapters. What is the proper way of doing this? My first instinct was to go with

See Smith (2010:chs. 3–6)

But then I realized that I had never seen chs. as an abbreviation of chapters, so I tried

See Smith (2010:ch. 3-6)

Which is weird because it looks like I’m talking about just one chapter. And then

See chapters 3 through 6 of Smith (2010)

Just looks unwieldy. So the questions are:

  • Is there a convention for this particular type of citation?
  • If not, what looks best to you, personally?
  • 1
    First of all, for ranges an en dash (-- in LaTeX) is preferred over a hyphen. Nov 26 '15 at 12:55
  • Yes, I know. Properly, what I write is see \citet[31--34]{smith10}, but I couldn't figure out how to render an en dash in the SE text field.
    – Koldito
    Nov 26 '15 at 14:06

According to Wiktionary and a number of other sites, "chs." seems to be the appropriate pluralization of the "ch." abbreviation for chapters. Note, however, that either is likely to be quite intelligible to a reader, and if the typesetters disagree with your choice, they'll surely fix it to their preferred style. In short: just use "chs." and don't worry about it.

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