Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Answers: English "Legalese" vs. "Plain English"

For the answers to the Quiz: English "Legalese" vs. "Plain English", posted here on April 14, 2008, I refer to the online listing of offensive legal phrases in "Eschew, Evade, and/or Eradicate Legalese", by Prof. Eugene Volokh, of the UCLA Law School.

He listed "some common clunkers, and their simpler, more readable replacements -- "legalese" -- that should be shortened, replaced, or deleted.

The replacements aren't always perfect synonyms, but 90% of the time they're better than the original.

Warning: Some of these changes also require some grammatical twiddling of other parts of the sentence.
In my quiz drawn from his listing, I avoided questions where the sole answer would be "deletion", but that option should be considered often.

Here are the answers, which you can confirm on his web page:
  1. "a large number of" -- many
  2. "adjacent to" -- next to or near
  3. "any and all" -- all
  4. "at the present time" -- now
  5. "cease and desist" -- stop
  6. "circumstances in which" -- when or where
  7. "concerning the matter of" -- about
  8. "due to the fact that" -- because
  9. "during the time that" -- while
  10. "in reference to" -- about
  11. "is desirous of" -- wants
  12. "it is apparent that" -- clearly
  13. "negatively affect" -- hurt, harm, or decrease
  14. "null and void" -- void
  15. "on a number of occasions" -- often or sometimes
  16. "on the part of" -- by
  17. "prior to" -- before
  18. "provided that" -- if or but
  19. "referred to as" -- called
  20. "render assistance" -- help
  21. "said" (as an adjective) -- the or this
  22. "subsequent to" -- after
  23. "the case at bar" -- this case
  24. "the manner in which" -- how
  25. "until such time as" -- until
Now, go forth, and write simply.

Update: 04/16/08:

This post was referenced by Roni Deutsch on
The Tax Lady Blog, where she had listed this Blog on her short "Blogroll". See her posting dated April 16, 2008, entitled "Latest Good Reads".