Category: Queen’s English / Latin Lovers

The Queen’s English – Compliments and Complements

Compliment and complement, both as verbs and as nouns, when spoken, sound alike and are nearly identical in their spelling; however, they differ substantially in meaning. Compliment as a verb is to make a laudatory comment (“The teacher complimented the class on the high quality… Continue reading

The Queen’s English Prepositions: Where They’re At

From Jack Lynch’s delightful The English Language – – A User’s Guide, the following bit of sage advice: Along with split infinitives, a favorite bugbear of the traditionalists is the rule that you should not end a sentence with a preposition. Whatever the merit of the rule —… Continue reading

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