Monthly Archives: May 2012

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

Miscellaneous Entries. rotary; rotatory. “Rotary” is the everyday adjective describing something that spins on an axis, esp. a mechanical object {rotary razor}. In technical and scientific writing, “rotatory” describes something subject to or causing a spinning force {optical rotatory dispersion}. … Continue reading

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LawProse Lessons #75 & #76

Lesson # 75 What’s the most eye-opening lesson that lawyers learn at LawProse seminars? ANSWER: There are many eye-openers, but the biggest is probably that writing style matters much more than most legal writers suspect. It is the wand that … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: sanctionable.

sanctionable. Like “sanction,” “sanctionable”carries a double sense of approval and disapproval. Most often, “sanctionable” means “deserving punishment” — e.g.: “‘It had never been suggested that a physician’s discussion of marijuana as a medical option was illegal or otherwise sanctionable,’ the … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: sanatorium; sanitorium; *sanatarium; *sanitarium.

sanatorium; sanitorium; *sanatarium; *sanitarium. Dictionaries are almost evenly split between the spellings “sanatorium” and “sanitorium” (= an institution for the treatment of chronic diseases or care of long-term convalescents; a health resort). *"Sanatarium" and *"sanitarium" are needless variants — e.g.: … Continue reading

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

Miscellaneous Entries. rigmarole (= a senselessly cumbersome, hassle-filled procedure) is the standard spelling. *"Rigamarole" is a variant spelling that is less than half as common in print. Despite its spelling, “rigmarole” is usually pronounced /RIG-uh-muh-rohl/, though the dictionaries record /RIG-muh-rohl/. … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: same (4).

same (4) Today: In Ill-Formed Phrases. Part A: *"Same . . . as are." “Are” often appears superfluously when writers state that two or more things are identical — e.g.: “Tucson officials say they are not in the same financial … Continue reading

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LawProse Lessons #73 & #74

Lesson # 73 What is the biggest mistake that lawyers make in the writing process? ANSWER: Starting to write before they’ve figured out precisely what the message is. As a result, the writing tends to be long-winded, meandering, repetitious, and … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: same (3).

same (3). Today: As a Constitutional Crisis. An ambiguous “same” pronoun once gave rise to a major constitutional question: whether John Tyler was in fact the tenth President of the United States. When President William Henry Harrison died on April … Continue reading

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

same (2). Today: As a Pronoun Generally. Unfortunately, the pretentious construction (“same” as a pronoun) has spread from legalese to general writing — e.g.: “Two more yards and it would have been Young’s first NFL touchdown. Noting same [read ‘that … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of Day: same (1).

same (1). Today: As a Pronoun in Legalese. This usage, commonly exemplified in the phrase “acknowledging same,” is a primary symptom of legalese. H.W. Fowler wrote trenchantly that it “is avoided by all who have any skill in writing” and … Continue reading

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