Category: Queen’s English / Latin Lovers

Queen’s English Odds and Ends – Some Surprising Meanings

Ingenious/Ingenuous.  As similar as they are, they are virtually antonyms.  Ingenious means “clever, skillful, or inventive”; while ingenuous means “artless, simple, or innocent”.  And while the adjective ingenuity would appear from its spelling to relate to ingenuous, it does not; it’s much closer in its… Continue reading

Queen’s English – Each Is

Using the noun each properly can be a challenge.  Because it is often followed by a prepositional phrase referring to a plural noun, the temptation is to use a plural verb with it.  “Each of the team members has his own helmet.”  There is a… Continue reading

Queen’s English…I Said It (and said it, and said it)

I remember well the first time I heard the word “redundancy” in high school.  For me it was something of a revelation; conservation has always appealed to me, and Mr. Schaffer, our English teacher, was showing us how to conserve words! As a lawyer I… Continue reading

Queen’s English: And So Forth…

Et al. (from the Latin et alii – “and others”) and etc. (from the Latin etcetera – – “and other things”) are sometimes used interchangeably in error. “Et al.” always refers to people, and “etc.” in almost all situations refers to things other than people. Preliminarily, note… Continue reading

Latin Lovers: Confess!

Cognovit literally means “he has acknowledged” – it is usually used in connection with acknowledgment of a debt.  A clause in a promissory note allowing confession of judgment against the debtor is a cognovit clause – it is an acknowledgment by the debtor that judgment… Continue reading

Latin Lovers

Some things are wrong because they are always wrong; other things are wrong only because the law says so. Acts that are malum in se (literally “wrong in itself”) are so inherently bad that all would agree that they should be punished.  Murder and robbery… Continue reading

Queen’s English – Superlative Adjectives

There are certain adjectives which express an ultimate thought and should not be modified further; they are the superlative or uncomparable adjectives.  They describe an absolute state so that any effort to add (or subtract) from their meanings results in either a contradiction or a… Continue reading

Latin Lovers – So What’s Wrong With Ex Parte?

The Latin phrase ex parte means “on one side only” or “on behalf of one party only.”  The term ex parte normally comes up in connection with communications between the court and the parties to a case; ex parte communications are generally disfavored since they… Continue reading

The Queen’s English – The Ever-Vexatious Who, Which, and That

You should use who only to refer to people, while the pronouns that and which should refer only to non-human things and never to people.  “Mary is the one who attends often.”  “The dog that won the show was a terrier.”  “The car that won,… Continue reading

The Queen’s English – Shibboleths

In the Book of Judges 12:5-6, we learn that the original shibboleth was an arbitrary word that Jephthah used to spot his enemies: the Ephraimites had trouble with the sh sound, and when asked to pronounce a word with sh in it, they revealed they were enemy spies (“. . .… Continue reading