In legal texts, at least in Sweden and Germany, it is common to print some parts of the body text in a smaller font. Is there a name for this typographic convention?


Strömberg 1972 – Myndighet och myndighetsutövning

Schmitt 2008 – Constitutional Theory

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    It is a inline comment of kind. A bit like a footnote but at teh end of a paragraph
    – joojaa
    Apr 5, 2018 at 12:50
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    I'd go as far as to say it's a "footnote" to section 2, but I have never seen a footnote (kind of by definition!) used mid way through a page Apr 5, 2018 at 13:06
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    @mayersdesign They are notes of sorts, but they are often (if not always) used in conjunction with footnotes or endnotes.
    – trmdttr
    Apr 5, 2018 at 14:31
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    Footnotes (and commentary) can be inline, at the bottom of the page, or at the end of a section/chapter. The rule is to be consistent throughout the publication. Here in North America, the convention is at the bottom of the page. No doubt, the note length dictated the position.
    – Stan
    Apr 5, 2018 at 15:11
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    No. Footnotes are customarily at the "foot" of a page. It is one of several terms for additional material added to the main content. Note would be a better generic reference to the additional material. After it is embedded into the publication, a specific term can be used to refer to its position within the text. I hope this helps clarify my unintended definition.
    – Stan
    Apr 5, 2018 at 15:33

2 Answers 2


I believe it is called an "Inline Citation" or "In-Text Citation"


Here: http://www.easybib.com/guides/citation-guides/chicago-turabian/notes/ I believe they could be referring to the "same thing" but lacking an actual citation (as in your example) simply as a "note".

Update: During some further research I found this document from Harvard: https://utas.libguides.com/ld.php?content_id=21757697 a solid 48 pages just concerning notes and citations. I stand by my original answer that this is simply an "in text note", or possibly a "parenthetical reference" (also known as Harvard referencing) but the document does provide fascinating (to text nerds!) further reading.

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    Well, they sometimes contain citations, but they are not solely for this purpose, and also contains text from the author. "Note" seems correct insofar as that is what they are, but this does not seem to be a distinct name of the typographic convention. (Of coures, there may be none) In Swedish they are sometimes called "packad stil" which means "packed style".
    – trmdttr
    Apr 5, 2018 at 14:30
  • Thank you for the update, that is an interesting source. But does it really cover these cases? Harvard referencing ("parenthetical reference") of different variants are used in my examples, but that is not what my question is really about. I still agree that "note" or "in text note" seems to be reasonable enough suggestions, but those are still your own suggestions or inventions (adapted from your first two links)? I am looking for a term (or several) that have been used for this phenomena specifically.
    – trmdttr
    Apr 20, 2018 at 9:37

In Polish text Norm such things are called "Additions", "interjected terms" by publishers and "bracket definition" by lawyers. Or "Parenthesis" by linguistics.

The short definition of such text is

two-side isolated intra-wording sequence

And in proofreading marks they are symbolised by [p] and [w]

  • Interesting! 1) Do you have any reference/links where these terms are used? 2) I am not really sure what you mean with "two-side isolated intra-wording sequence" – could you clarify? (And where did you find this definition?)
    – trmdttr
    Apr 20, 2018 at 9:38
  • Only in Polish unfortunately. bsp.bielsko.pl/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/… second page last dash talk exactly about using smaller font size when creating supporting texts. Quote is hard to understand even in Polish :). But is means that a sequence of text marked on both ends by something that is not a regular sentence beginning or end (so big letter and dot) can be treated as a "parenthesis". everyday use of this would be "I see - said doctor - you've lost weight". the "-" are parenthesis mark. Apr 20, 2018 at 10:02
  • Interesting, that sounds like a en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relative_clause ? But does that apply for full paragraphs, like in my examples?
    – trmdttr
    Apr 20, 2018 at 11:46
  • It's seems it's something similar. Although in Polish there don't need to be relation like in English relative. Also it seems that it's strict legal usage (probably because of the language end length) to create slightly different paragraphs with extra information. Apr 20, 2018 at 12:18

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