Modern Legal Writing

parts of speech mapping

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Modern Legal Writing by Mind Map: Modern Legal Writing

1. Omit Surplus Words

1.1. Do Not Use Redundant Legal Phrase

1.1.1. A term of art is a short expression that (a) conveys a fairly well-agreed meaning, and (b) saves the many words that would otherwise be needed to convey that meaning.

1.2. Trim Out Verbose Word Cluster

1.2.1. Trim your sentences with no loss of meaning

1.3. Avoid Compound Prepositions

1.3.1. Compound prepositions and their close cousins are a fertile source of surplus words.

1.3.2. Use a simple form instead

1.4. Shorten Clauses and Phrases

1.4.1. cut clauses down to phrases

1.5. Spot Bad Construction

1.5.1. two kinds of words

1.5.1.1. The working words carry the meaning of the sentence.

1.5.1.2. The glue words do serve a purpose; they hold the working words together to form a proper English sentence.

2. Use familiar, concrete words

2.1. Use Concrete Words

2.1.1. Do not mistake abstraction of that sort for the intentional, artful vagueness sometimes required in legal writing.

2.2. Use Familiar Words

2.2.1. Given a choice between a familiar word and one that will send your reader groping for the dictionary, use the familiar word

2.3. Do Not Use Lawyerisms

2.3.1. A lawyer's words should not differ without reason from the words used in ordinary English

3. Use short sentences

3.1. Short Sentences Aid Comprehension

3.1.1. Long sentences make legal writing hard to understand.

3.2. A Guide to Clarity

3.2.1. Put only one main thought, keep the average sentence length below twenty-five words.

3.3. Use Tabulation to Split Up Long Sentences

3.3.1. the shortest, clearest way to present a complicated piece of material is in one long sentence, split up

4. Use base verbs and the active voice

4.1. Base Verbs v. Derivative Nouns and Adjectives

4.1.1. do not overuse them in

4.2. The Active Voice v. The Passive Voice

4.2.1. When you use the active voice, the subject of the sentence acts

5. Arrange your words with care

5.1. Normal Word Order and Inversionfor Emphasis

5.1.1. To make your writing easy to understand, most of your sentences should follow the normal English word order-first the subject, then the verb, and then the object (if there is one):

5.2. Keep the Subject Close to the Verb and the Verb Close to the Object

5.2.1. Smaller gaps between subject and verb can be closed by moving the intervening words to the beginning or end of the sentence:

5.3. Put Modifying Words Close to What They Modify

5.3.1. As a general rule, put modifying words as close as you can to what you want them to modify

6. Avoid language quirks

6.1. Elegant Variation

6.1.1. Do not to use the same word twice in one sentence

6.2. Noun Chain Confusion Avoidance Technique

6.2.1. Lop off any of the descriptive words that are unnecessary

6.3. Sexism in Legal Writing

6.3.1. Do not be sex bias

6.4. Adjective-Adverb Mania

6.4.1. Use strong nouns and verbs, not weak nouns and verbs held afloat by adjectives and adverbs

6.5. Throat Clearing

6.5.1. Clear your throats at every pause