Category: Queen’s English / Latin Lovers

Queen’s English Gift Me a Break!

Anyone who’s done any estate planning in recent years has discovered there is an almost universal new use of an old fashioned word. Life insurance agents, accountants, financial planners, and (yes!) lawyers have conspired to morph the word gift from a noun to a verb.… Continue reading

Latin Lovers

Ethics rules applicable to attorneys generally prohibit ex parte communications with judges in active cases. Literally, the term means “on one side only”, and the rule against ex parte communications is rooted in fundamental fairness. If a judge is to be an impartial arbiter, he… Continue reading

Latin Lovers

When a complaint is filed in court, there is often an allegation that the individual (non-corporate) parties are sui juris. What does this mean? If it is alleged that defendant John Doe is sui juris, it simply means that he is not under any legal… Continue reading

Queen’s English He/She/It/Their/Them

The rule is that which requires pronouns to agree in case with the noun (or pronoun) it refers to. “All of the boys wore their coats.” Both all and their are plural, and all is well. But in “Everyone must wear their coats,” everyone is… Continue reading

Latin Lovers

If nothing else, lawyers always have an argument. Ad Hominem is a type of argument which desperate lawyers sometimes employ (and experienced judges frown upon) where the facts and/or the applicable law are not terribly helpful. Literally the term means “to the man,” and amounts… Continue reading

Latin Lovers

Sometimes judges, in their opinions, say things that are not strictly necessary to support their decisions. Because our legal system depends heavily on the reasoning contained in prior decisions (the principle known as stare decisis) loose words contained in a judicial opinion can cause problems… Continue reading

Latin Lovers

Hypothetical: Suppose you are stopped under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, and your blood alcohol content registers at .07. Under the law, the legal limit for drunk driving is .08. A few weeks later the legislature passes a new law lowering the… Continue reading

The Queen’s English

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