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LawProse Lesson #173: “On behalf of” and “in behalf of”

On behalf of and in behalf of. On behalf of stalwart stylists everywhere, I write in behalf of maintaining the traditional distinction between these phrases. Careful writers distinguish between them. To act or speak in behalf of someone is to … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: worse; worst; *worser.

worse; worst; *worser. Writers seldom have trouble with the adjectives “bad/worse/worst.” But sometimes they yield to temptation with a little harmless wordplay — e.g.: o “He beat his supposed betters, and worsers, clearly if not handily, taking the lead at … Continue reading

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

Miscellaneous Entries. worrisome; worrying, adj. In American English, something that provokes worry is “worrisome,” but in British English it’s “worrying” — e.g.: “Most worrying for the Conservatives, the MORI poll shows Labour making more rapid gains among middle class and … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: World Wide Web.

World Wide Web. As a proper noun, “World Wide Web” is capitalized when written out in full and when shortened to “the Web.” When combined into compound form, though, it is usually lowercase {website}. Because “the Web” is just one … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Word-Swapping.

Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day Word-Swapping. It’s something like a Murphy’s Law of language: two words that can be confused will be confused. Sometimes, the more popular word will encroach on the less popular (as when “demean” took over … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Word Patronage.

Word Patronage. Word patronage is “the tendency to take out one’s words and look at them, to apologize for expressions that either need no apology or should be quietly refrained from” (Modern English Usage, 1st ed. at 733). A flourishing … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #172: What’s new in the third edition of “The Winning Brief”?

What’s new in the third edition of The Winning Brief? Answer: Hot off the presses, the 775-page third edition contains nine new sections. This new material includes tips on understanding judges’ reading habits, answering opponents’ arguments, writing effective reply briefs, … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: wont.

wont. Although Samuel Johnson reported in 1755 that this word had slipped from use, it hangs on today as a slightly whimsical way of expressing customary behavior. It is used almost exclusively as a predicate adjective {as he is wont … Continue reading

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

Miscellaneous Entries. workers’ compensation; workmen’s compensation. These words contain a plural possessive, hence “workers’” and “workmen’s” — not “worker’s” and “workman’s.” “Workers’ compensation” now predominates, doubtless because of a sensitivity to the sexism of the other. Another erroneous form is … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: womankind; *womenkind.

womankind; *womenkind. *”Womenkind” is erroneous, since “-kind” includes all the members of the sex. E.g.: o “Now she feels she’s pressured about what her roles will say to all of womenkind [read 'womankind'].” Matthew Gilbert, “Fiorentino Sees ‘Jade’ Role as … Continue reading

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