Tag Archives: LPL

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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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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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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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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LawProse Lesson #196: “Notwithstanding”

Notwithstanding. “Notwithstanding is much too ponderous for everyday life. Say in spite of or despite.” — Rudolf Flesch, The ABC of Style 207 (1964). After 50 years, Flesch’s sentiment still holds true for most writing—even most legal writing. There are two main problems … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #195: “Due to” what?

Due to what? Traditionally, due functions as either a noun meaning “something owed” {The players finally gave their coach his due.} or an adjective meaning “adequate” or “appropriate” {due process} {with all due respect}. The phrase due to most traditionally functions as an adjective … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #194: Portmanteau words.

Portmanteau words. A portmanteau is a type of luggage with two separate sections. A portmanteau word is formed by combining the sounds and meanings of two different words. Linguists also call such a word a blend. Most portmanteaus merge the initial … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #193: Words of the Year 2014

Words of the Year 2014. In keeping with a recently established tradition, various lexicographic departments have announced their Words of the Year. For 2014, Oxford Dictionaries picked vape. Although it originated as an abbreviated form of vapor or vaporize, Oxford gave … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #192: Client confidences.

Ethical communications for lawyers: Client confidences.      Trustworthy. That’s how every client should describe you. Keep all client confidences—and make it a habit to keep all confidences in everyday life. The law doesn’t make an exception for spouses or … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #190: Ethical communications. Never tell a lie.

Ethical communications for lawyers: Never tell a lie. “He’s not in the office right now.” (Actually, he is.) “I’m not authorized to offer one penny more.” (Actually, she has authority to settle for quite a bit more than she’s saying.) … Continue reading

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