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February 2014

Unless you’re striving for comic effect, never use this word.

I’ve gotten to a point where I no longer believe in ironclad rules. Avoid passive voice? Don’t use contractions? Never write a sentence fragment? I’ve consciously broken every one of these “rules” at one time or another to achieve some effect: emphasis, tone, whatever.

Nevertheless, after reading this post on Bryan Garner’s LawProse blog, I can confidently posit at least one absolute, ironclad, no-exceptions rule: Never, ever use the word witnesseth in serious legal writing.

Can I get a witness?


Bryan Garner triple feature: Spring tour

If you’d like to improve your writing, editing, and advocacy skills, then here is a worthwhile CLE seminar for you: A day with Bryan A. Garner, featuring these classes:

This seminar is hitting 12 U.S. cites between March 4 and June 5. The stops:

  • Miami, FL, March 4
  • Minneapolis, MN, March 18
  • New Orleans, LA, April 1
  • Houston, TX, April 3
  • Washington, DC, April 14
  • Dallas, TX, April 18
  • Chicago, IL, April 21
  • New York, NY, April 24
  • San Francisco, CA, April 28
  • Los Angeles, CA, May 2
  • Kansas City, MO, June 3
  • Austin, TX, June 5

I can vouch for the quality of the material. And Bryan is probably the most skilled CLE presenter I have seen. Good presenters hold your attention for an hour; Bryan can hold your attention for an entire day.

For more information, follow these links: