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Emphasis:

An exchange I heard a few months ago -- I reproduce it from memory, so the account will not be precise, but I think I remembered the substance accurately:

[Talk had turned to effective legal writing; B is a smart soon-to-be-law-student.]

A. Another thing I learned about legal writing: Don't use exclamation points for rhetorical emphasis. And all-caps -- don't do that, either. Bold is also very bad. So is italics: It's OK to use it to highlight important terms in quotes, or terms that you're trying to distinguish from each other in your arguments, but don't use it as an exclamation point.

B. But what then are you supposed to use for rhetorical emphasis?

A. How about ... forceful arguments?

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More on Rhetorical Emphasis:

Commenter DJR offers a good concrete illustration for my argument about emphasis:

[1.] The plaintiff's argument totally misses the point! Section 157 of the Act does not even come close to covering the facts of this case!

[2.] The plaintiff's argument totally misses the point. Section 157 of the Act does not even come close to covering the facts of this case.

[3.] The plaintiff's argument totally misses the point. Section 157 does not even come close to covering the facts of this case.

[4.] The plaintiff's argument misses the point. Section 157 does not cover the facts of this case.

Which of these four examples is most likely to favorably dispose a judge to the rest of the author's argument?

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