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Bryan Garner claims citations slow the reader down and should be replaced with footnotes.

Numerical pollution

Bryan Garner does not like citations in the paragraphs of a document; in fact, he calls for a new citation system.

“We’d all be better off if lawyers and judges would put bibliographic information in footnotes and also stop putting any discussion there.”  Let’s join the 21st century, he continues in the ABA Journal.

“You may wonder why lawyers didn’t long ago subordinate the citations in all their writing. The answer is simple: Until 1985 or so, we didn’t have the option because we were using typewriters. The convention was set many years ago when the Royal typewriter — take your choice of pica or elite! — represented cutting-edge technology.”

Remember trying to put footnotes in a text on a typewriter?

As far as reading goes, I think we could get used to flipping back and forth from the text to the footnote. Or, check the cite later. Feel free to share your thoughts.

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