Category: Queen’s English / Latin Lovers

Queen’s English – Relative to What?

Have you any idea who a “second cousin, once removed” is?  I did not know and have done some research.  Let’s see if I can pass it on. The definition of a first cousin is something most seem to grasp readily: You are the first… Continue reading

Latin Lovers: Amicus Curiae

Courts and judges are required to be impartial – they cannot be “friends” with the litigants before them. But sometimes the court can really use a friend. An amicus curiae is literally a “friend of the court” – a person or entity which is not… Continue reading

The Queen’s English: However Resuscitated

Grammatical myths arise (“Never end a sentence with a preposition.”) and are often difficult to dispel.  One such “rule” is that sentences should never begin with however.  Not so. An illustration:  “The Phillies were on the verge of a big inning with the bases loaded. … Continue reading

Latin Lovers – Sine Qua Non

Some things are important and some things are absolutely necessary. You can go for many days without food, but without water, your days are really numbered. Water is the sine qua non of human life. Sine qua non means literally “without which is nothing”. It… Continue reading

The Queen’s English Beware the Dangling Modifier

In English where a word appears in a sentence is most important.  By misplacing a word or phrase, you may cause it to dangle; dangling words or phrases “occur in a sentence without having a normally expected syntactic relation to the rest of the sentence”… Continue reading

Latin Lovers De Facto and De Jure

Recall the scene back in 1981 when a deranged John Hinckley shot Ronald Reagan in a botched assassination attempt in front of a Washington hotel. Reagan was rushed to the hospital and made a speedy recovery. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, then Secretary… Continue reading

Queen’s English: Which/That (Who?)

According to Garner’s Modern American Usage (3rd Edition), which is possibly responsible for more bad sentences than any other in the language.  E. B. White wrote “Careful writers, watchful for small conveniences, go which-hunting, remove the defining whiches, and by so doing improve their work.”… Continue reading

Latin Lovers: Stare Decisis and Sui Generis

The law favors consistency, which is why new cases are decided based on comparison to prior similar cases. This is the doctrine of stare decisis. The notion of legal precedent dictates that similar cases should result in similar court decisions. Sometimes, however, a novel situation… Continue reading

Latin Lovers – Don’t Come Empty Handed

Most people know what a subpoena is – Perry Mason used them all the time to require a hostile witness to appear in court. Sometimes, however, a witness will be served with a Subpoena “Duces Tecum”, which goes a bit further – requiring not only… Continue reading

Queen’s English – Shakespeare, the Inventor

April of this year marked the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. This remarkable man in his 52 years left an unmatched legacy. He’s been described as witty, appalling, perplexing, poetic, erotic, and profound. One more remarkable quality was his ability to create or at… Continue reading