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LawProse Lesson #200: Which is standard: “toward” or “towards”?

Which is standard: toward or towards?       In American English, toward has been the usual form in print sources since about 1900. Many usage authorities since then have expressed a strong preference for toward, without the final -s. … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: load, n.; lode.

load, n.; lode. Although they have similar etymologies, their meanings have fully diverged. “Load” (in its basic senses) means “a quantity that can be carried at one time” or, by extension, “a burden” {a load of work} {a load off … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #199: Persuasive openers.

Persuasive openers.      Almost all poorly written motions and briefs have one thing in common: they get off to a bad start. They have no clear, boldly expressed point. They’re mushy. How to fix that problem? Say on page … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: literally.

literally. “Literally” = (1) with truth to the letter; or (2) exactly; according to the strict sense of the word or words. “Literally” in the sense “truly, completely” is a slipshod extension — e.g.: “Behavioralists and postbehavioralists alike, literally or … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: lip-sync, vb.; lip-synch.

lip-sync, vb.; lip-synch. To lip-sync, of course, is to move one’s lips silently in synchronization with recorded vocals, whether one’s own or someone else’s. Although the dictionaries are split between the “sync” and “synch” forms, the incontestable leader in print … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #198: Commas with coordinating conjunctions.

Commas with coordinating conjunctions. Many writers struggle with whether to use a comma in a compound sentence whose clauses are joined by a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so). Although some examples may be tricky or complicated, … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries.

Miscellaneous Entries. know, through careless error, is sometimes written “now” — e.g.: “Gempler said he didn’t now [read 'know'] why the union produced the report.” Hannelore Sudermann, “Teamsters Attack Apple Industry Over Core Issues,” Spokesman-Rev. (Spokane), 23 July 1997, at … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: like (2).

like (2). Today: “Like” as a Conjunction. In traditional usage, “like” is a preposition that governs nouns and noun phrases, not a conjunction that governs verbs or clauses. Its function is adjectival, not adverbial. Hence one does not write, properly, … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: like (1).

like (1). Today: As a Preposition. The object of a preposition should be in the objective case — you say “They are very much like us,” not “They are very much like we.” Apart from the second person (in which … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #197: Using ellipsis dots with quotations.

Using ellipsis dots with quotations. Lawyers frequently need ellipsis dots because of the abundant quotations in legal writing—quotations that often need trimming. Properly used, ellipses are perfectly respectable and often necessary to avoid both the reproduction of extraneous words (a … Continue reading

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