Quotations

Q. When quoting statutory material, is it appropriate to substitute ellipses points in for semicolons that end the “line” of a statutory clause? For instance, suppose a statutory clause reads “(i) Procedures involving animals will avoid or minimize discomfort, distress, and pain to the animals;”, and this is the end of the line (that is, the next line starts with “(ii)”). In this situation, if one quotes the line itself, should one end it with a period, ellipses points, or maybe even a bracketed period?

A. CMOS would recommend that you quote your example as follows: “Procedures involving animals will avoid or minimize discomfort, distress, and pain to the animals.” The function of the semicolon, out of context, becomes irrelevant, and there is no need to use ellipses or to bracket the period. Within a sentence, the quotation would look like this:

The relevant clause states that “[p]rocedures involving animals will avoid or minimize discomfort, distress, and pain to the animals,” and this organization has done everything in its power to follow suit.

Note that the “p” has been lowercased because grammar requires it but placed in brackets in deference to the original text. CMOS recommends doing this for all legal works and textual criticism. But the end punctuation is a different matter here, and in the example above a comma is required.