Archive for April, 2013

Professional Citation

Friday, April 12th, 2013

My last post keyed off an article on common grammar mistakes I found by following a link in Paralegal Gateway LinkedIn discussion post by Barbara Liss. Today’s post keys off an article by Daphne Drescher, CP, on the Paralegal Society website  I found by following a link in Paralegal Gateway LinkedIn discussion post by Barbara Liss.  With Barbara as a resource, I may get away with no original thought at all for a couple of weeks!

The article is A Little Primer on Citation. As you might suspect based on the title, the article does a good job of setting out the basics of legal citation setting out a quick “anatomy of a case citation” lesson. Citations are part of legal writing. Like grammar, spelling, and punctuation, getting the citations right is an important part of any writing assignment completed by a legal professional. As Daphne states, “because if their citations aren’t uniform, they look…well…unprofessional.” So take a few minutes to follow the link and read the article. While there take a few more minutes to look around the Paralegal Society’s website. It’ll be worth the time.

Common Grammar Mistakes That Make You Look Unprofessional

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Now that’s I’ve shipped the The Empowered Paralegal Cause of Action Handbook manuscript off to Carolina Academic Press I hope to be able to attend more to this blog, although I have a lot of catching up to do on grading. Since I’ve been writing a lot, I’m especially focused on what other people have to say about writing right. (In looking at my own posts over the years I found that there are probably enough posts on the topic to create a category for discussion writing well in addition to the “Consequences of Sloppiness” category for examples of what can happen when one does not write well.)  One of the first discussion to catch my attention in this regard is a Paralegal Gateway LinkedIn discussion post by Barbara Liss of a link to “Common Grammar Mistakes That Make You Look Dumb” by Ilya Posin.

The article covers several common mistakes: 1. You’re vs. Your, 2. They’re vs. Their vs. There, 3. Lose vs. Loose, 4. It’s vs. Its, 5. Effect vs. Affect, 6. Alot, and 7. Then vs. Than, giving examples of each. Ilya gives this advice:  Edit your work, or ask someone else to glance at it for you. These errors may seem insignificant, but your intelligence will be questioned when these mistakes are discovered…and they will be.  One that I’ve notice cropping up more and more lately is “sell v sale,” i.e., people using the noun “sale” when  meaning the verb “sell” and the verb when meaning the noun.

One commentator responding to the article states, “Such a strong judgement. Erroneous typos happen. Makes us human.. Just saying…” It is true that typos occur especially in informal writing like this blog, but the misuse of words in their entirety is commonly not a typo but a misunderstanding of the meaning and correct use of the words themselves. Also, the article asks people to “edit their work.” While typos occur professionals do all they can to minimize them and must certainly make every effort to see that their work product – correspondence (including email), pleadings, memoranda, and the like use correct grammar. I frequently suggest that students and practitioners alike consult Grammar Girl’s website and subscribe to the podcast. The podcast lessons are short, clear, informative, and well-researched. Most of us can (and should) always learn a bit more and all of us can use refreshers!