1. acme_54
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    acme_54 New Member

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    Legal punctuation

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by acme_54, May 20, 2009.

    Commas: Are all the commas necessary in version 1 of this sample sentence, and if so, what is the difference in meaning (if any) between both forms?
    [WITH 4 commas] - VERSION 1) In the event of resolution by any of the parties, the existing contracts with the clients, or the new contracts that are signed until the end of the 90 day period, will stay in force until their annual conclusion, the commitments of both parties remaining effective until the total resolution of the agreement.

    [WITH 2 commas] -VERSION 2) In the event of resolution by any of the parties, the existing contracts with the clients or the new contracts that are signed until the end of the 90 day period will stay in force until their annual conclusion, the commitments of both parties remaining effective until the total resolution of the agreement.
     
  2. Sound of Silence
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    Sound of Silence Member

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    Oh, this is a touchy one. I read somewhere that lawyers insisted words not punctuation should convey meaning, but that led to ambiguous meaning for the reader. Nowadays, though, I think it mainly boils down to helping out the reader.

    Personally I'd advise getting a grammar book for lawyers, that may help you out more. But, on a not so specialist note, I don't think meaning is changed here whether you use the commas or not. In the first one, they emphasise exactly what will stay in force after 90 days. The second doesn't. If you read them out loud, the first para changes intonation to give you that emphasis - because of the commas, the second is more monotone.

    There may be someone better here to help you out.
     
  3. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see why punctuation rules would be different with legal writing. I would use commas wherever you normally use them. Look at the use of commas here:

     
  4. Kittywings
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    Kittywings New Member

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    Punctuation is the same with legal documents.
    The only difference is you have to be extra vigilant for mistakes in spelling, grammar, etc...

    I'm pretty sure the second one is better - the one with only 2 commas.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no, the first one is correct... 'or' should be preceded by a comma and the clause that introduces should be closed with one...

    fyi, i do a lot of legal writing and have even had my interrogatories and briefs used verbatim by my own high-priced attorneys, thus saving myself some bucks in fees...
     

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