Minding Your P’s, Q’s, Lists, and Spaces

Two friends of the WEblog recently commented on typography in legal writing.

Susan Moon earlier this month was concerned by Oxford’s (potential) abandonment of the serial (a.k.a. Oxford) comma (which only referred to their PR department, and not their editorial staff). David Lat at Above the Law last week opened a can of worms with a poll about typing one space or two between sentences.

Partisans among all of the sides argue about the historical reasons, the practicalities, and just whether it “looks right” or not. For the record, I am pro-serial comma, as you can see from this post’s title. I am also in favor of one space between sentences.

From what I gather, my opinion about the serial comma is arguably “old-fashioned” (it is credited to Oxford, after all), and my single-space stance is “modern” (before laser printers, it was usual to use two spaces between sentences when using a typewriter; it was also usual to underline instead of using italics).