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Peas & queues

Posted by Edward Stansell on September 13, 2002

I agree with you that the most plausible origin for mind your P's & Q's is from the job of compositor or typesetter. The "printer's devil" (apprentice) was told this because of the similarity between the lower case of these letters and the fact that they are located next to one another in the type case. Anyone who has set type can testify that the saying could almost as likely been watch your b,d,p,q,n and u. I suppose that was too big a mouthful. Type is in the reverse of the printed letter but is relatively easy to read if arranged in words, however, individual characters can be difficult; particularly those I've mentioned.
ES