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Do you know your legalese?

“Even after an author has produced 23 books, the publication of a new edition remains a matter of some excitement—especially when it is a newly renamed eponymous work, said A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage (1987) was my very first book, and Oxford University Press is about to release the third edition as Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage.” –Bryan Garner

Here at Oxford University Press, we’re celebrating the 3rd edition of Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage and offer a hearty congratulations to Bryan Garner.

The new version sports many new features and is unlike any other. What does it really mean to “beg the question”? Is “struck” preferable to “stricken”? Lawyers, judges, law professors, law students, and other readers interested in legal language should find it helpful, educational, and entertaining.

Think you know your legal terms? Try your luck here. (Answers at the end.)

1. This immigration-law term refers to the process of changing or applying to change a lawfully admitted alien’s classification from nonimmigrant or temporary resident to permanent resident.

2. abjurer or abjuror?

3. This term has become misused as an equivalent of “magnificent”. 

4. Term(s) meaning a marriage-like relationship.

5. In U.S. bankruptcy law, an “automatic stay” has occasionally been called this.

6. As past tense of abide.

Bryan Garner is the award-winning author or editor of more than 20 books. He is a prolific lecturer, having taught more than 2,500 writing workshops since the 1991 founding of his company, LawProse, Inc. His works include Garner on Language and Writing, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges (co-written with Justice Antonin Scalia), The Winning Brief, The Elements of Legal Style, and Legal Writing in Plain English. Garner has served as editor-in-chief of Black’s Law Dictionary since 1995, and he is the author of the grammar-and-usage chapter in the venerable Chicago Manual of Style.

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Answers: 1. Adjustment of status – 2. First spelling is preferred (abjurer) – 3. magnamimous – 4. civil union; civil partnership – 5. super-injunction – 6. abode

Recent Comments

  1. Dan M

    I didn’t know that misuse of “magnanimous”. But I do know how to spell it.

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