Five More Words and Phrases to Avoid
This month, let’s add to our list of quick style fixes:
Replace this heavy phrase with under and a comma. That way, you focus on the parties, not on the case name or statute.
- Before: “Section 102(a)(3) provides that life support may be removed upon notice of intent by the spouse to the hospital.”
- After: “Under Section 102(a)(3), spouses can remove life support by notifying the hospital of their intent.”
Replace with also.
- Before: “Additionally, we request that you respond to our demand within fifteen days.”
- After: “We also request that you respond to our demand within fifteen days.”
“The fact that”
Strunk & White call the fact that a “debilitating expression.” You rarely need it.
- Before: “The fact that you failed to raise the issue at trial is tantamount to your relinquishing your right to contest it on appeal.”
- After: “Because you failed to raise the issue at trial, you cannot contest it on appeal.”
- Before: “The Ford Motor Company (hereinafter, ‘Ford’).”
- After: “The Ford Motor Company (‘Ford’).”
Even better, just write “Ford” as long as it’s clear which Ford you mean.
Here’s what Judge William Eich once said about parenthetical repetitions:
“Excusable, perhaps, if the lawyer is 127 years old and was apprenticed in his youth to Silas Pinney, but never welcome in any piece of writing by anyone younger.”
“However” at the beginning of a sentence
Most stylists are opposed.
- Before: “I have reviewed your letter. However, I disagree with many of your arguments.”
- After: “I have reviewed your letter. I disagree, however, with many of your arguments.”