LawProse Lessons #81 & #82

LawProse Lessons #81 & #82

Lesson # 81
Does the new Scalia-Garner treatise take a position on the serial comma — that is, the one preceding “and” in the phrase “a, b, and c”? ANSWER: Yes, in Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, Justice Scalia and Bryan Garner explain the Punctuation Canon. In the course of that section, they exhort legal drafters to use the serial comma (pp. 165-66). The Punctuation Canon is one of 57 valid canons explained in the 500+-page hornbook. Source: Scalia & Garner, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts (2012).
Lesson # 82
What are the plurals of the names Flowers and Reynolds, if you’re referring to Mr. & Mrs. Flowers or to the Reynolds family? ANSWER: They’re the Flowerses and the Reynoldses. It’s a matter of keeping up not only with the Joneses but also with the Flowerses and the Reynoldses. Surprised? You shouldn’t be: using Flowers and Reynolds as plurals has no backing from any reputable grammatical authority. Sources: Garner’s Modern American Usage (3d ed. 2009) (under “Plurals”). The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style (2d ed. 2006) (see index under “Plurals”). The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed. 2009) (same).
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