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Multiplicity: I Got It — There’s a Lot of Them

By Theda C. Snyder

Multiplicity.

Apparently, this was the mediation statement writer’s favorite word. There were a multiplicity of this and a multiplicity of that. Of course, there were a multiplicity of issues to be resolved and a multiplicity of reasons why the opponent’s position lacked merit.

I suspected that the writer loves this word because it has so many syllables. And somehow using big words makes a presentation better, right?

Wrong.

What’s Wrong With “Multiplicity”

Plain language is best. Sticking to words of no more than three syllables usually makes your point. An exception is for technical or precise words such as “affidavit.” Repeated use of long words like “multiplicity” comes across as pompous, not learned.

“Multiplicity” can be vague. What one person thinks is a large number may be small through a different person’s eyes. If you assert that there are a whole bunch of things and your opponent shows evidence that there are many fewer, your entire case may be tarnished.

So Many Other Choices

Good writers avoid repeating the same word over and over. Besides the boredom factor, hitting the reader over the head with the same term may generate skepticism rather than acceptance.

My motto is: specificity improves credibility. If something happened a specific number of times, use that number. If parties disagree, say so.

“We will show that Mr. OtherGuy was well aware of the condition of the premises, having received 15 complaints in the prior three months, though he only acknowledges two.”

If you want to refer to all of the whatevers collectively, pull out your thesaurus to vary your vocabulary. There are many, numerous, various, abundant, a lot of, a multitude of, profuse, a large number of, myriad other choices.

Just please stop repeating the same word.

Illustration ©iStockPhoto.com

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Theda C. Snyder

Theda “Teddy” Snyder mediates civil disputes, workers’ compensation and insurance coverage cases, including COVID-19 related coverage disputes, in person or by video. Teddy has practiced in a variety of settings and frequently speaks and writes about settlements and the business of law. She was a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and is the author of four ABA books, including “Women Rainmakers’ Best Marketing Tips, 4th Edition” as well as “Personal Injury Case Evaluation” available on Amazon.com. Based in Los Angeles, Teddy can be found at SnyderMediations.com and on Twitter @SnyderMediation.

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