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Re: Here at the Department we... (was: Capitalization)

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  • wustpisk
    http://ask.metafilter.com/51519/What-do-all-capital-letters-in-legal-documents-signify Interesting ... One thing that I really don t like in US legal documents
    Message 1 of 32 , Sep 26, 2012

      Interesting ...

      One thing that I really don't like in US legal documents is the lack of articles. It is really jarring to the eye.

      --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@...> wrote:
      > I'll ask a couple of lawyers on this side of the pond. I'll bet they're not sure, but we'll see.
      > Here is a blog post by a lawyer who complains about "exuberant capitalization" in the legal profession:
      > http://lawyerist.com/please-stop-capitalizing-every-other-word/
      > We don't need to worry in this thread about whether we've actually helped Helena sort out her problem here, because the name of the thread has been changed. Now we're helping sort out my problem.
      > Jamie
      > On Sep 26, 2012, at 1:01 AM, Charles Stanford wrote:
      > > Hmmmm - not sure you are right about the "contract/Contract" issue
      > > Jamie..... I think if you ask a lawyer on either side of the pond he/she
      > > will tell you that you would capitalise it. Anything that is defined in a
      > > contract /specific to that contract gets capitalised. Anyway this is all a
      > > bit beside the point - did we ever actually help Helena sort out her
      > > problem? I am not sure we did.
      > >
      > > On 26 September 2012 05:36, James Kirchner <czechlist@...> wrote:
      > >
      > >> **
      > >>
      > >>
      > >> I said the website you pointed out was cheesy. Websites that look like
      > >> they were designed with mid-1990s HTML technology don't inspire confidence.
      > >>
      > >> It's nonetheless not appropriate to use German Gross- und Kleinschreiben
      > >> in English when not capitalizing will not result in confusion. For example,
      > >> if a contract only ever mentions one contract (itself), there is no reason
      > >> to write "the Contract", because writing "the contract" does not result in
      > >> confusion.
      > >>
      > >> Going to a British source, the Oxford Style Manual seems to support your
      > >> preferred capitalization on page 77, but in the US this would often be
      > >> considered extreme overuse of capitalization and would strike people as
      > >> indicative of poor writing skills. (It's similar to the way extremely
      > >> anglicized pronunciations of foreign names sound uncultured to American
      > >> ears but not to British ones.)
      > >>
      > >> Jamie
      > >>
      > >> On Sep 25, 2012, at 8:12 AM, Melvyn wrote:
      > >>
      > >>> Just run the above text through the search engines to get an idea how
      > >> many million cheesy outfits are probably not that meticulous.
      > >>>
      > >>> BR
      > >>>
      > >>> M.
      > >>>
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      > >
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      > >
      > > ------------------------------------
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    • melvyn.geo
      ... Hardly a surprise considering the manuals disagree among themselves, as you point out, and users freely pick and choose among them. I am happy enough if
      Message 32 of 32 , Sep 29, 2012
        --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@...> wrote:
        >There's no unity at similar establishments regarding usage.

        Hardly a surprise considering the manuals disagree among themselves, as you point out, and users freely pick and choose among them. I am happy enough if I can show that a particular standpoint is sometimes applied in practice.

        >I actually know a very good web designer whose own website is the trashiest thing imaginable. She says it puts her right at the top of the search engine rankings, and that clients who see her samples don't care about her own site.

        The one who designed my blog pages (and received praise from rival web designers for them) told me she just does not bother with her own site.



        BTW bloguje.cz recently shut up shop without warning and now I have to find a new home for my blog. Any recommendations, anybody?

        >I've also read that matchmaking sites do better if they look cheesy. Again, people think there are humans behind the site.

        Freelance translators and interpreters often stress the fact that they spare the client agency complications and fees. Plain vanilla puts this point over better than any slick razzmatazz.

        Serious point about the complications, actually. I have had enough of agencies where the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, so they repeatedly phone me up to find out what their colleagues are doing.

        >Nonetheless, if I see an agency site that is not well designed or is not at
        least an attractive, competently filled-in template, I tend to avoid the agency,
        thinking their standards are low in other matters also.

        Language would be my primary concern here. We all know of those outfits that brag about their own magnificence in broken English. If their texts look like they have been proofread then I
        can usually overlook the glaring yellow font on a goose-turd green background. You can sometimes spot the well-to-do by their grotty taste (viz podnikatelska baroka).

        >As an attorney told me yesterday, "You can't go
        wrong using standard English rules in a legal document."

        Does s/he ever use third-person "shall" in contracts? Hardly standard. You said previously that this is one of the rare places where "shall" is found in American English:
        >It is right that "shall" is almost never used in American English, other than in legal texts

        >This is not the way we did it at the communications companies. We kept about
        five style manuals in the drawer, and then we would do things the way we wanted
        to. If the exec, lawyer or writer complained, we'd pull out the style guide
        that supported what we wanted to do, take it to the person and point out that
        "the style guide" calls for our way of doing it. The people would immediately
        cave in, and nobody ever seemed to notice we were bringing them different style
        manuals in different situations.

        Now why does this not surprise me in the least? :-) I was going to make the point previously that all the complexities of title case present a nice opportunity to carve out one's own little fiefdom if one is so inclined.

        >>> Should long prepositions be capitalized? How
        > long does a preposition have to be before it is a long preposition? Etc.
        >> Four letters. They just have to look in the manual.
        >> NIVA prefers to capitalize prepositions of five characters or more.

        >I have never heard of NIVA, and a lot of web searching has not yielded any
        explanation of what it is or what its full name is. Do you know?

        http://www.niva.com/ ,
        which publishes

        And before you complain about how cheesy NIVA is as a source (pun unavoidable - or punavoidable ha ha), this was just one site I chose pretty much at random from several that basically say the same thing, e.g.:

        Capitalization of significant parts of speech of or more than four or five letters (preferences vary).

        Also, sometimes I am in the middle of a job and cannot go looking for cheese-free sites.

        >The kid watches this screwball English comedy for a
        while with a deadpan expression and then says, "Mom, that man's wearing a

        But we have been crossdressing like this onstage for centuries. :-) In English pantomime the female lead role is always taken by a male, and vice versa:

        The gender role reversal resembles the old festival of Twelfth Night, a combination of Epiphany and midwinter feast, when it was customary for the natural order of things to be reversed. This tradition is sometimes traced back to pre-Christian European festivals such as Samhain and Saturnalia.

        So now you see what the Pilgrim Fathers and all those puritans were trying to escape.

        > I am always amused by the way almost every real-world reference in the Economist is automatically followed by a brief explanatory clause, e.g. ...the Beatles, a 1960s rock group. For a long time I thought these helpful notes were an attempt at humour.

        >I doubt it.

        Of course not, but the effect of the indefinite article always amuses me. Queen Elizabeth II, a British monarch,...

        >Many of my American students born and raised around Detroit didn't know where Ontario was. If you go downtown and look across the straits, you see Ontario vividly on the other side just two miles away.

        Crikey, you could have spitting contests. Are Ontarians just as likely to be ignorant of Detroit?


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