Photo of Bryan A. Garner by Terri Glanger Throughout your career as a lawyer, you'll be judged professionally on two main things: Although the requirements of writing assignments will vary depending on your organization, your supervisor and your clients, here are 10 pointers that will improve your work product.
Likewise, James Gordon Bennett Jr. Keeping a banned-word list is hardly unique to newspapers. He despised committed suicide, preferring instead killed himself or herself.
He likewise disapproved of decease for die, executed for hanged or put to deathexpectorate for spit, inaugurate for begin, prior to for before and so on. No real stylists are. Legal drafters could benefit from a similar verbal blacklist—a simple list of words that do nothing but blemish the documents that contain them.
Learn them and ax them.
Is it a phrase? Which one is favorable? The bad-faith reader can pick whatever reading seems favorable. Courts have reached all those conclusions and more. Use ordinary English words: They are the champs. The word deem should create a legal fiction, not state the truth.
For example, if you said: It has three serious problems: A variant form is the phrase provided, however, that. If you see it, try inserting a period and begin a new sentence with a capitalized But. Constitution did it—eight times—and they were grammatically unimpeachable on that score. It makes beginners feel as if they belong to a club.
The rule-making body for federal courts has been stamping it out for more than a decade.
Or say that the contract requires whatever it is. It makes you sound like a parody of law-talk. In that sentence, is same really more precise than it?
In fact, same is the source of an ambiguity in the U. Constitution so severe that a constitutional amendment had to cure it. Vice President John Tyler then became our 10th president. But did he really? Article III of the Constitution reads: In case of the removal of the president from office—or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office—the same shall devolve on the vice president.
The powers and duties of the office? The passage of the 25th Amendment in finally resolved the ambiguity. Now if the president dies or resigns, the vice president becomes president.
If the president is merely unable to serve but remains alive, the vice president becomes acting president.
So a constitutional amendment had to cure one sloppy word choice: Courts have held that shall can mean has a duty to, should, is, will, and even may. The word is like a chameleon:The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.
Sample Letter Demanding Security Deposit. March 1, 20xx. Lee Woods 10 Howell Street Sacramento, CA Dear Mr. Woods: As you know, until January 31, 20xx, I resided in Apartment #9B at 37 Dunn Street and regularly paid my rent to your office.
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Just because someone hasn't paid off their balance doesn't mean they're trying to shrug off their obligations: they might have issue with certain charges, believe they've already paid, or might have simply forgotten. William Cullen Bryant, editor of the New York Evening Post from until , created an “Index Expurgatorius” for his newspaper.
Certain words simply weren’t allowed in its pages. Legal. Throughout your career as a lawyer, you'll be judged professionally on two main things: your interpersonal skills and your writing.
Although the requirements of writing assignments will vary.