Tag Archives: LPL

LawProse Lesson #159: Were you “summonsed” or “summoned” to appear in court?

Were you summonsed or summoned to appear in court? Although summonsed isn’t downright wrong, in modern legal usage it’s much preferable to say that someone was summoned to appear in court. Summons as a verb dates from the 17th century. … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #158: Whether “whether” causes problems for writers.

Whether whether causes problems for legal writers. Yes, it does — in four ways: (1) in issue statements, (2) in the common misusage of if for whether, (3) in needless instances of whether or not, and (4) in the proper … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #157: An Immediate Improvement for Contracts

What’s the easiest way to improve most transactional drafting? Rigorously impose a consistent numbering system, create more headings, and banish romanettes. Use a cascading left-hand indent. Ideally, the numbering has four levels of breakdown. That’s all you’ll normally need: Imposing … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #156: The biggest mistake in motion practice.

The biggest mistake in motion practice. What’s the biggest mistake commonly made in motion practice? It’s getting off to a bad start, typically with a repugnant paragraph containing cumbersome boilerplate and parenthetical definitions that insult the judge’s intelligence. A brief … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #155: Is it properly “brinkmanship” or “brinksmanship”?

Is it properly brinkmanship or brinksmanship? Brinkmanship. There’s no s after the brink, though many people mistakenly add it on the analogy of gamesmanship (which applies to all types of games and competitions). The forthcoming 10th edition of Black’s Law … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #154: Compound words: Is it “healthcare,” “health-care,” or “health care”?

Compound words: Is it healthcare, health-care, or health care? The better practice is to write it as a solid, unhyphenated word: healthcare. You’ll save yourself grief and, to the extent your writing endures, you’ll look better in the long run. … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #153: Phrasal verbs and their corresponding nouns.

Phrasal verbs and their corresponding nouns. A phrasal verb is a verb teamed up with a preposition or adverb (such as up in this sentence). The word after the verb is traditionally called a particle, and it often gives the … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #152: Hyphenating phrasal adjectives (Part 2)

Hyphenating phrasal adjectives (Part 2). Last week we began a study of phrasal adjectives. It gets complicated. One correspondent said she’d never hyphenate high-school dropout (though the Wall Street Journal advises doing so). But high school dropout might suggest a … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #151: The art of hyphenating phrasal adjectives.

The art of hyphenating phrasal adjectives.      When a phrase functions as an adjective, the phrase should ordinarily be hyphenated. Professional writers and editors regularly do this. Search for hyphens on a page of the Wall Street Journal or the … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #150: When should you hyphenate prefixes?

When should you hyphenate prefixes? If you want your writing to have professional polish, resist the urge to hyphenate prefixes. In American English, words with prefixes are generally made solid {codefendant, nonstatutory, pretrial}. Modern usage omits most hyphens after prefixes … Continue reading

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