Category: Queen’s English / Latin Lovers

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

Latin Lovers – Law List

Here is a list of some common Latin terms which pervade court papers and legal opinions, along with their common meanings: Caveat Emptor: “Buyer beware” — meaning that the buyer of property is on notice to inspect it carefully and will be held to that… Continue reading

Latin Lovers – A Little This, A Little That…

In the law of contracts, in order for a contract to be enforceable it must be supported by “consideration”. There must be some quid-pro-quo between the contracting parties. The Latin phrase quid-pro-quo means literally “this for that” – signifying an exchange of one thing or… Continue reading

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