No Thanks: Six More Words and Phrases to Avoid

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  • Ross, I like this blog series. Your examples are appropriate and (as a Grateful Dead fan) fun.
    I’m a plain language expert who works primarily with financial institutions, which means I have to debate with attorneys all the time over financial jargon, legalese, and complexity. Thanks for providing examples. I always cite your work. Deborah S. Bosley, Ph.D., Owner of The Plain Language Group (www.theplainlanguagegroup.com).

    • Ross Guberman

      Approve Ross Guberman
      President, Legal Writing Pro
      Professorial Lecturer, GW Law School
      Author, Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates (Oxford, February 2014)Twitter and LinkedIn http://www.LegalWritingPro.com
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      Deborah S. Bosley
      Ross, I like this blog series. Your examples are appropriate and (as a Grateful Dead fan) fun. I’m a plain language expert who works primarily with financial institutions, which means I have to debate with attorneys all the time over financial jargon, legalese, and complexity. Thanks for providing examples. I always cite your work. Deborah S. Bosley, Ph.D., Owner of The Plain Language Group (www.theplainlanguagegroup.com). 10:30 a.m., Tuesday Feb. 24 | Other comments by Deborah S. Bosley |   |
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  • Ross Guberman

    Thanks very much, Deborah! If you run into any particular debates, let me know and I’ll give you my two cents.

  • Mark Painter

    Hi Ross, Deborah– For years, I have challenged students at my seminars to find an instance (maybe there is one) that the in order helps the to. But have never encountered one.

  • Ross Guberman

    Great to hear from you, judge. The only exception, I think, is when a sentence already has another infinitive: “It’s important to save a little each month [in order] to make sure you have enough to retire one day.”

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  • Why are these words to be avoided? Are they too complicated to be understood by the audience they are written for or are these words just personal affectations the writer has a personal dislike for.

    • Ross Guberman

      The target terms are not necessarily too complicated to be understood. But they are often too long or heavy to be worth the reader’s time. And the article is about language choices that well-regarded judges make. It’s not about personal likes or dislikes.