SC Lawyer, Jan. 2004, #8. The Scrivener January 2004 Quotation marks.

AuthorBy Scott Mo\xEFse

South Carolina Lawyer


SC Lawyer, Jan. 2004, #8.

The Scrivener January 2004 Quotation marks

South Carolina LawyerJanuary 2004 The Scrivener January 2004 Quotation marksBy Scott MoïseThis final installment in a series of columns concerning punctuation marks in legal writing is devoted to quotation marks. Quotations (and quotation marks) are overused and, in general, should be limited to:

* direct quotations

* distinction of a particular word or letter

* titles of articles, book chapters, songs, short poems, and stories

* narration

* nicknames

* words or phrases used ironically.

Another tricky issue is correct punctuation within quotation marks.


    1. Direct Quotations

      For direct quotations of less than 50 words, use quotation marks.

      * "In conclusion," Elizabeth informed the judge, "my client meets none of the elements necessary to invoke jurisdiction and should be dismissed."

      Under Rule 5 of the Bluebook, direct quotations of more than fifty words should appear as a block quotation (indented left and right). Do not use quotation marks to set off block quotes. When a quote appears within a block quotation, set it off with double, not single, quotation marks.

    2. To Distinguish a Particular Word or Letter

      * The high burden for granting summary judgment is necessary because it is truly a final "judgment."

    3. Titles of articles, book chapters, song titles, short poems, and stories

      Titles of shorter works, or works that are part of a longer work, are set off in quotation marks.

      * In his closing statement, Craig quoted several times from the song "Without Me" by Eminem.

      Titles of longer works are underlined or italicized.

      * For his trip to San Francisco for depositions, Matt packed the deponents' article, "Tricks for Biomechanics," to read on the way out and Anna Karenina to read on the way home.

    4. Narration

      Quotation marks are also used to indicate narration or conversation.

      * "Why should I exclude Dr. Smith as an expert?" Judge Goodstein asked.

      * "Because his opinions to do not remotely meet the State v. Council factors," Chip replied.

      * "Tell me more," the judge replied.

    5. Nicknames

      * Mark "Moose" Phillips spends most of his work weeks traveling around the country trying toxic tort cases.

    6. Words or Phrases Used Ironically

      * Although the Defendant claims that he wins because of the Nussbaum decision, he fails to mention that this...

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