Category: Queen’s English / Latin Lovers

Latin Lovers: Shorthand Edition

Latin phrases pervade the legal profession; we see them in court opinions and in legal arguments.  In many ways, latin phrases are a form of “shorthand” for lengthier concepts. Here are some examples: Sui Juris:  In a legal complaint filing, it might say “Plaintiff, sui… Continue reading

The Queen’s English: A Grammatical Thunderclap

For anyone who cares about English grammar, the news will resolve an issue that has proved to be insoluble forever.  Merriam-Webster has announced that henceforth the pronoun they may be used to refer to a “single person whose gender identity is nonbinary.”  This no doubt… Continue reading

The Queen’s English – Ever-Evolving Meanings

Drawing on Benjamin Dreyer’s “Peeves and Crotchats” in his Dreyer’s English, what follows are comments on common usage and mis-usage in some cases. Artisanal.  It’s difficult to be in almost any kind of a store and not encounter this term, especially in describing food products. … Continue reading

Latin Lovers: “Ipso Facto” and “Et Al”

The Latin phrase ipso facto – or “by the very fact” – is a nice “50 cent” phrase to express the idea that one thing necessarily causes or results in another. If you were born in the United States, ipso facto you are an American… Continue reading

Queen’s English – An Optional Plural and Circular Reasoning

Our first topic concerns money, and its plural.  Is moneys (or monies) a correct plural of the word, or is money one of those words that has both a singular and plural meaning?   It is unlikely that upon hearing the price of a bauble at a Tiffany counter, you would respond, “I… Continue reading

Queen’s English: Words That Can Fool You

What follows are several words that can sound alike, but can confuse and be easily be misused: Affect and Effect.  Affect is always a verb and is meant to influence (“The rain affected the score.”).  Effect can be a noun (the “consequence of”) or a… Continue reading

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