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  1. #1
    lurontierney Guest

    Default Punctuation in the Legal Field

    We use many defined terms set off by quotation marks (i.e., "Land"). I was taught that periods should always be inside the quotation mark. The younger attorneys entering the workplace are stylizing their punctuation differently (i.e., at the end of a sentence ...."Land". OR Exhibit "A".) (Personally I would have typed ...."Land." or Exhibit A. possibly Exhibit "A.")

    Have the punctuation rules changed in that regard in the last 25 years?

    Thanks --luron

  2. #2
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Punctuation in the Legal Field

    Not only have the rules not changed, but it looks ridiculous, amateurish and just plain wrong to see that period stuck way out there. The reason that the young lawyers regularly break this rule is that they didn't have me for an English teacher.

    Here are the rules for punctuating the end of a quotation as I teach them:

    Commas and periods are ALWAYS inside the quotation mark.

    Semicolons and colons belong outside the quotation mark.
    The coach promised us "lessons"; we never got them.
    There was only one "lesson": do what you're told.

    Exclamation points and question marks can be inside or outside the quotation mark depending on the meaning of the sentence.
    Did you read "The Raven"? The entire sentence is a question.
    Bob said, "Who is there?" Only the quotation is a question.
    "There's a shark in the water!" she screamed.
    If I have to say "Sit down, Bob," one more time I'll kill him!

    Please tell those young lawyers to buy a used 6th grade English textbook and read it. They're probably also abusing apostrophes and making other egregious errors. Stop them by any means necessary before they reproduce..

    Mike

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Punctuation in the Legal Field

    The reason that the young lawyers regularly break this rule is that they didn't have me for an English teacher.


    I am sure they don't lose sleep over that and neither does the judge if that goes in front of him. For some reason all those ridiculous, amateurish and just plain wrong punctuation errors never seem to put a demper on their bank accounts.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Punctuation in the Legal Field

    American usage dictates; e.g.,

    Please press the key marked "Enter." (inside the quotation mark)
    Exhibit "A". (outside the quotation mark)
    Numbers "1" and "12". (outside the quotation mark)

    Click on the link below to read more. . . http://www.grammartips.homestead.com/inside.html

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Punctuation in the Legal Field

    Quote Originally Posted by Marylin
    The reason that the young lawyers regularly break this rule is that they didn't have me for an English teacher.

    I am sure they don't lose sleep over that and neither does the judge if that goes in front of him. For some reason all those ridiculous, amateurish and just plain wrong punctuation errors never seem to put a demper on their bank accounts.
    ridiculous, amateurish, and just plain wrong . . . .

    Is 'amateurish' and 'just plain wrong' a set or are they exlcusive?

  6. #6
    lurontierney Guest

    Smile Re: Punctuation in the Legal Field

    I greatly appreciate each response. Sometimes it just plain feels good to be right, even if I have to keep it to myself. I'll be sure and share this information with the other secretaries.

    Thanks --luron

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    Default Re: Punctuation in the Legal Field

    Good to hear.

    ==================
    (Personally I would have typed . . . Exhibit "A.")
    I believe it's Exhibit "A".

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Punctuation in the Legal Field

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    ridiculous, amateurish, and just plain wrong . . . .

    Is 'amateurish' and 'just plain wrong' a set or are they exlcusive?



    It's a packaged deal, I think... And just wait till the judge gets mad and gives them all a "crisp" little sentence. Yeah, right! Many lawyers, no matter how well educated don't have a clue about punctuation. They have their own secretaries for crying outloud!

  9. #9
    lurontierney Guest

    Default Re: Punctuation in the Legal Field

    Y'all would be very amused with sentence structure (or lack thereof) used by attorneys. Not to mention the abundance of nonexistent words manufactured to express ideas which create legally binding documents.

    Casiopea: re the Exhibit "A". example -- Would it be incorrect to eliminate the quotation marks around the letter or, if used, a number at the end of a sentence?

    Would you also put a comma after the quotation marks if needed?

    My thought is that if you use bold/italic/underline, whatever, it pulls the text together without having to identify this as a freestanding letter. (Exhibit A.)

    Y'all have fun --luron

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Punctuation in the Legal Field

    Quote Originally Posted by lurontierney
    Casiopea: re the Exhibit "A". example -- Would it be incorrect to eliminate the quotation marks around the letter or, if used, a number at the end of a sentence?
    The rule of thumb is consistency. If "A" is how's it's commonly written, then "A" is the way to go. The same applies for numbers; e.g., Exhibit "1".

    Quote Originally Posted by luron
    Would you also put a comma after the quotation marks if needed?
    Like, Exhibit "A", and . . . ?

    Quote Originally Posted by luron
    My thought is that if you use bold/italic/underline, whatever, it pulls the text together without having to identify this as a freestanding letter. (Exhibit A.)
    Looks good. Again, consistency is paramount. Check out what other people are doing. If there are various ways of doing it, either find the one that's most common or choose the one you like. (My sister was a Paralegal, and she tells me "there are guidelines", but, then again, we are from Western Canada, so maybe guidelines differ.)

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