Thursday, December 18, 2008

A complete absence of punctuation and capitalization

I once worked as a copyeditor for a DC law firm that had a partnership arrangement with a London law practice. We would occasionally proof work from the across the Pond.

Aside from the front and back matter, the body of the documents contained no punctuation or capitalization whatsoever. I don't know if the documents reflected British legal document style at the time, but I do know it was the easiest proofreading I've ever done.

Even though at times the absence of punctuation made it tough to decipher syntax, the only thing we had to look for was typos. Just imagine the ease with which you could fly through text if P&C were not a consideration.

every once in a while when im struggling with some fine point of editing such as whether to use em dashes or parentheses or the difference between that and which i think back fondly on my english editing experience those brits came up with a style i could easily live with finally id say that at least one little corner of london at one point in time represented the notion that the sun never sets on the british empire