advice you can use — short and to the point — every Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017 technology  research  practice

A Research Tip

  • Research & Writing

I keep a running list of these, jotting them down as I see or hear them. (You’re on notice.)

The both of you/us

Adele may sing in ‘Hello’ about ‘thuh B-O-O-O-O-TH of UH-UH-ss’, but don’t you be doing it.

It is both of you and both of us, with no definite article – not even when it’s from the UH-ther SI-YIDE.

British case

There is no such thing in law. You mean an English case (or perhaps a Scottish one).

(Great) Britain, which came into being when James VI of Scotland inherited the English throne on the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, consists of England (and Wales) plus Scotland. England and Scotland have separate legal systems and courts, so there can never be a  British case: it’s either English or Scottish, but not both; British is not synonymous with English. (And it’s Great Britain to distinguish it from that lesser Britain, Brittany in France.)

I suppose there could be a UK case, since the United Kingdom Supreme Court hears appeals from all the constituent parts of the UK (Great Britain plus Northern Ireland), and the law lords make it clear when a judgment is applicable to all of the parts (as in Donoghue v Stevenson, a Scottish case the House of Lords did not confine to Scots law). But it’s purer to describe cases by their jurisdiction of origin.

All of this may unravel in the wake of Brexit, however…

Caselaw
This always suggests coleslaw to me.*

It isn’t statutelaw, commonlaw or customarylaw, so why would it be caselaw?

As The Solicitor General’s Style Guide, 2d ed (Washington, DC, 2015) uncompromisingly puts it, caselaw is a ‘barbarism’ requiring ‘total extirpation’.

It’s case law (add a hyphen to make that an adjective: case-law research).

Mid
This doesn’t always have to have a hyphen after it.

It’s mid-year review, because you’re making a compound adjective out of mid and year; but it’s I’ll see you in mid March (no hyphen). You don’t write I’ll see you in early-March or I’ll see you in late-March. Ergo…

Seven days notice
That’s an Apostrophe Catastrophe™ if ever there was one! It needs to be seven days’ notice, obvi.

‘Til
Please, no.

There are two English words that mean the same thing: until and till. ‘Til, an unnecessary modern variant of the latter, must (like caselaw) be exterminated.

Next tip: respect and regard

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)

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