A dictionary of modern legal usage

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 1987 - Law - 587 pages
The ideal companion to standard legal references

In recent years, the need for clarity and precision in legal writing has been the subject of increasing attention. Until now, however, the unwieldy body of legal usage has remained uncollected and unscrutinized in any systematic way. The first comprehensive guide to style and usage for the legal writer, A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage provides accessible, authoritative, and up-to-date information that will enable lawyers, judges, students, scholars, and those who work in other fields concerned with legal language--such as journalism, medicine, business, and finance--to make their legal writing as clear and precise as possible by resolving questions of phraseology, diction, grammar, and style. The entries, arranged alphabetically, discuss distinctions among variant forms of legal terms, expose common pitfalls in legal writing, and include brief essays on such special topics as metaphors, sexism, cliches, initialese, misspellings, preferred spellings, Latinisms, grammar, and distinctions of meaning. In addition, the entries are highlighted with illustrations from such sources as judicial opinions, statutes, briefs, and law review articles. While the focus of the dictionary is on American usage, this is augmented by numerous examples of British usage where appropriate; moreover, Garner discusses legal words not to be found in other dictionaries.
Modern Legal Usage is the ideal companion to standard law dictionaries and fills an important gap in the existing legal reference literature.

* offers comprehensive coverage and alphabetically arranged entries
* contains over 6,000 headwords
* provides a guide to pronunciation
* gives clear, concise definitions
* distinguishes between legal words that are closely related
* discusses topics of interest to legal writers
* lists preferred spellings
* includes brief essays on points of grammar
* uses numerous examples from legal documents
* incorporates abundant cross-references


BRYAN A. GARNER is currently Visiting Associate Professor of Law at the University of Texas, Austin. Educated at the University of Texas at Austin and at Oxford University, he was an associate editor of Texas Law Review and clerked for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, the Fifth Circuit Bar Association, the Southwestern Legal Foundation, and the American Judicature Society.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - keylawk - LibraryThing

Includes a series of Essays on Style, Usage, Lexicology, wording, and punctuation. This work is not merely a dictionary of meanings. It also provides short (alphabetically-accessed) Essays on Style ... Read full review

A dictionary of modern legal usage

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Like the superb first edition (LJ 9/15/87), this new version of A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage is loaded with well-documented (and even witty) definitions and examples of legal usage. With ... Read full review

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About the author (1987)

Bryan A. Garner, a noted lawyer and lexicographer, has written extensively on the English language and the language of law. His earlier books include A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, The Elements of Legal Style, and The Winning Brief. He is Editor-in-Chief of Black's Law Dictionary and President
of LawProse, Inc., a Dallas-based company that provides continuing-legal-education seminars to lawyers nationwide.