Since we’re now a couple of days into Chanukah, ...
Commas and the Second Amendment

Short sentences good.

Joanne Young has posted her 10 commandments of writing, all of which are worthwhile and most of which will benefit legal writers. Check them out.

Number 5 on her list is, “Do use short sentences.” If you keep this commandment, you’ll avoid writing things like this 306-word monstrosity I came across today (citation withheld to avoid embarrassing the author):

In view of the fact that the insured gave notice of the claimed windstorm damage to his home as soon as he discovered it, which was over 5 months after the windstorm, the insurance companies, in the absence of fraud or collusion, could not successfully deny liability on the ground that the insured failed to give notice promptly within the time provided by the policies, the court decided in Hayward v Carolina Ins. Co. (1951, La App) 51 So 2d 405, reh den 52 So 2d 468, upholding, except as to the amount of the award and the allowance of attorney fees and penalties, a judgment for the insured, where it appeared or was shown that after the windstorm in September, 1947, the insured collected $27.50 from the two insurance companies for damage to his roof; that after the storm there was hardly any rain until the latter part of February or first part of March, 1948; that during the latter part of February, the insured went on a trip to another state and did not return for about 2 weeks, or until March 5, 1948; that upon his return home he discovered that water was pouring down the walls in front of the house and that the inner front wall was wet, the floor covered with water, and the interior covered with mold and mildew, and he then notified the agent of the insurance companies of the damage; and that at the trial the insured produced competent witnesses who testified that the damage was caused by the windstorm of September, 1947, and the trial court so found, their theory being that the storm caused the flashing of the front wall to be pulled away from the roof and the wall either weakened or separated from the main roof, permitting water to seep inside the house.

Whew! A few more clauses and the author would have had one word for every day of the year. As it is, we have one word for every day from January 1 through November 2.