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Legal Writing and Publishing

Nym Words: Sufferin’ Suffixes

Words with the suffix “–nym” pop up regularly. Some are common, but many of the 46 words with this suffix are not. “Nym” derives from the Greek word for “name” or “word.” Don’t include obscure –nym words just to show off; that just confuses ...

Theda C. Snyder - July 11, 2018
man reading on a laptop

Write Like People Read

Have you noticed that the way you read websites, emails, text messages — even magazine and news articles — has changed over time? A growing body of research suggests that the internet is changing how people pay attention to writing. The most ...

Chris Graham - July 9, 2018

Why Lawyers Are Redundant: History Is Destiny

Now lawyers use every term they can think of because some court somewhere once said the language in the contract didn’t cover the dispute. Sometimes that’s a good reason, but often it is not. Rather than a considered approach, most lawyers start ...

Theda C. Snyder - June 12, 2018
Man with index finger pointed up Get to the Point

How Euphemisms Improve Your Lawyering

Euphemisms are words or phrases used in place of other words that might offend the recipient of the message. The prefix eu- means “good.” Euphemisms substitute good language for what some might consider bad. Sometimes the communicator is ...

Theda C. Snyder - May 30, 2018
Business person writing a courtroom Brief

Want to Quickly Build an Impressive Reputation in the Courtroom? Write Impressive Briefs

As a judge reviews your brief, they’re evaluating your argument and your professionalism. Consider the words of the Hon. Raymond M. Kethledge, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge, in an article he wrote for the ABA.(1) “When I read a brief, the first ...

Thomson Reuters - May 22, 2018
Man with index finger pointed up Get to the Point

Making and Using Too Many Words

As you edit your work product, pay special attention to instances where a stronger verb could replace a verb and its direct object. Besides being less persuasive, weak verbs plus explanatory words lengthen your writing [not, “make it longer”].

Theda C. Snyder - April 11, 2018
Man with index finger pointed up Get to the Point

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

You’re articulate, right? You appreciate and emulate good legal writing. So why do you turn off so many listeners and readers so soon?

Theda C. Snyder - December 12, 2017
Man with index finger pointed up Get to the Point

The Death of Capitalization

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 for capitalizing in the middle ...

Theda C. Snyder - November 7, 2017
pencil

The Perfect Pencil, the Perfect Pen

Like you, I take a lot of notes in my professional life. Over the years I’ve developed silly obsessions with the quality of Ampad legal pads and National Brand 33-004 notebooks. But I never thought much about pens. I tended to use whatever cheap ...

Bull Garlington - October 28, 2017
Man with index finger pointed up Get to the Point

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

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 of a trademark to refer to a similar ...

Theda C. Snyder - October 3, 2017