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I don't know exactly how I would search for this so I'm sorry if it's been brought up before. At another forum I go to someone started a thread on which is more readable, serif or sans. Someone mentioned they like sans better but that a true sans face wouldn't have bars on the I like the face used for text on that forum—that face being Verdana, btw.
To which I, without thinking, replied that, no, the bars are not serifs.
And then someone questioned me as to why the bars aren't considered serifs and I had absolutely no idea how to answer him despite wasting almost an hour trying to come up with an answer. My google-fu even failed me. The only thing I could come up with was that the bars are a design decision to help differentiate the I from an l and that serifs are traditional terminal whearas these are the same weight as the rest of the letter and are squared off but that still doesn't answer whether or not they are or aren't serifs.
So, I ask: in a sans serif face are bars on a capital I considered serifs and if not why? With a bonus question: the j in Verdana has what appears to be a serif but is it?