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The Definitive Grammar and Punctuation Guide for Attorneys, Law Students, and Paralegals

published December 12, 2016

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Summary: This article thoroughly details and provides examples of grammar and punctuation rules particular to the legal profession.
 
Learn all you need to know about grammar and punctuation in the legal field in this definitive guide.

"The student ought to carefully reperuse what he has written [and to] correct every error of orthography and grammar, A mistake in either is unpardonable.” (From John Marshall's letter to his grandson, December 7, 1834. The Nation, LXXIl Feb. 7, 1901.)
 
Grammar may be boring to learn, but it is important to know. It is, in fact, the basis of all effective writing. You will never be praised for good grammar, but you will surely be censured for its absence. And if your excellent reasoning is couched in ungrammatical language; don't expect to get the credit for it that you deserve.

Of course, there is more to effective writing than standard grammar. To write well you need appropriate style and organization, and good analysis. But the sine qua non of writing is good grammar. Your clients will depend on it; courts will expect it. If your grammar is substandard, expect to be embarrassed.
 
Take, for example, the following case, in which the issue was whether the indictment under which the defendant was charged was legally adequate. The indictment read, in part:
 

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