Get to the Point


Get to the Point!

You Lost Me Right From the Start: Avoiding Communication Turn-offs

By | Dec.12.17 | No Comments

You’re articulate, right? You appreciate and emulate good legal writing. So why do you turn off so many listeners and readers so soon? In the film “Jerry Maguire,” Renee Zellweger as Dorothy Boyd tells Tom Cruise’s …Continue reading »


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The Death of Capitalization

By | Nov.07.17 | No Comments

It started with the iPod, the iPad and the iPhone. Capital letters appeared in places they never appeared before. Grammar rules call for capitalizing proper names, but now the correct reference to some brands calls …Continue reading »


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You Can Conduct an Internet Search, But Should You Google?

By | Oct.03.17 | No Comments

I once defended a product liability case where the client was adamant that the product always be called a “personal watercraft.” It most definitely was not, he insisted, a Jet-Ski. The issue was the use …Continue reading »


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Don’t Be Tricked by These False Friends

By | Sep.11.17 | No Comments

Some words sound like they mean one thing when they actually mean something very different. Using one of these false friends incorrectly could cause you a problem. But It Sounded Right … The term “false friends” traditionally …Continue reading »


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Contronyms: Context Controls Comprehension

By | Aug.07.17 | 1 Comment

Sanctions. That word has always troubled me. It’s a contronym, a word that has opposite meanings. Lawyers know that a motion for sanctions asks the court to penalize an adversary’s bad act. But other English speakers …Continue reading »


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Why Superlatives May Not Be So Super

By | Jun.13.17 | No Comments

“Get to the Point” has previously preached that specificity enhances credibility. In fact, I’m working on a cross-stitch with this aphorism to place on the office wall. Using an unsupported superlative flouts this rule. Ugly, Uglier, …Continue reading »


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Qualifiers Do Not Increase Quality

By | May.10.17 | 1 Comment

You can’t be persuasive if your message is confusing. Whether you’re arguing a motion or giving an interview on a political issue, clarity is what counts. A qualifier changes the meaning of another word or …Continue reading »


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You Can’t Practice Law Without Math

By | Apr.12.17 | No Comments

One of my mediations included negotiation of a medical provider’s lien. The lien was $10,000; the offer to settle it was $3,700. I gently pointed out that the offer was less than half the amount …Continue reading »


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Invisible Syllables

By | Mar.06.17 | No Comments

A television commercial for Butterfinger candy bars brags that they are “crispety.” Another advertisement claims they are “crunchety.” These descriptions are not words, and Nestle should not be trying to persuade us otherwise. One would …Continue reading »


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Elegant Insults

By | Feb.13.17 | 4 Comments

When your brain knows just the right word, you can be more concise. And sometimes you can slip in the verbal dagger without the victim understanding what you’ve done. Insouciant When you want to say the defendants …Continue reading »