Tag Archives: LPL

LawProse Lesson #183: What’s wrong with initial-caps point headings?

LawProse Lesson #183  What’s wrong with initial-caps point headings in briefs?      Two things. First, most lawyers don’t know how to type text in initial caps properly. But second—and far more important—proper point headings must capsulize points. They’re complete … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #182: “Home in” and *”hone in.”

Home in and *hone in. Home in is the correct phrase, meaning “to proceed toward (a target)” or “direct attention to (a thing, idea, or objective)” {after flying a few miles, the pigeon homed in on the cage} {in the … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #181: Grammar and usage resources.

Grammar and usage resources. Which grammar books are most useful? People frequently ask this question. Perhaps the most compendious treatment can be found in my own chapter five of The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed. 2010). That chapter, which … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #180: Conjunctions as sentence-starters

There are certain bits of knowledge that distinguish connoisseurs from poseurs, professionals from dilettantes, cognoscenti from wannabes. In the realm of grammar and writing, it tends to be the sureness that sentence-starting conjunctions are perfectly acceptable and often desirable (connoisseurs), … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #179: “As such”

As such. Have you noticed the epidemic of poor usage involving as such? In this phrase, such is a pronoun requiring an antecedent. Here are two examples: Ex.: The lawyer did not intend to write a derogatory review of the … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #178: Do you know Standard American Punctuation?

Do you know Standard American Punctuation? Let’s take a well-written paragraph—one that shows some linguistic savvy—and remove all the punctuation. Can you punctuate it meaningfully? Capitalize as necessary to begin sentences. “In the end given so much evidence to the … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #177: “Whoever” vs. “whomever.”

Whoever vs. whomever. Like who and whom, whoever and whomever can be tricky for both lawyers and nonlawyers. Here are a few guidelines that should help: If the word completing the syntax after -ever is a verb, and the -ever … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #176: “Who” vs. “whom”

Who vs. whom. Edward Sapir, the philosopher of language, prophesied in 1921 that “within a couple of hundred years . . . . not even the most learned jurist will be saying ‘Whom did you see?’ By that time the … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #175: Just between you and ME . . .

Just between you and ME . . . The grammatical blunder *between you and I is pervasive in writing and speech generally, and legal writers are hardly immune. Writing or saying *between you and I (or *for you and I, … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #174: Me, Myself, and I

Me, Myself, and I. A pervasive uncertainty about pronoun cases has led to the rampant use of myself as a stuffy substitute for I or me. Not this: Taylor and myself attended the settlement conference. But this: Taylor and I … Continue reading

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