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Its: where to put the apostrophe

Not long ago, I spoke to a professional writer who was never taught grammar or punctuation. He told me he writes its or it’s at random, hoping to be right about half the time. He’s not alone. In all the professional writing I review in my writing workshops, that one...

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Must a contract term be one sentence?

In a contract drafting workshop last week, we were looking at a 126-word definition of a 3-word phrase. Someone asked, “Is there a rule that a definition has to be just one sentence?” There is no such rule, in English contract law or in life. But it was a sensible...

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Terms of service? Didn’t read

Two contrasting court cases in two weeks show the power of order, structure, signposting, and format, in standard contract terms. In each one, a customer signed up to the terms a business had drawn up to protect itself from disputes. When a dispute came up, guess...

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Should writing training be online or face to face?

Which is better, when we have the choice again? Here are some points to help you decide, from our experience of taking interactive group writing training online since March 2020. The choice As I write, face to face interactive writing training in most places must wait...

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Win the Oxford Guide to Plain English

I’m sorry for the long silence since my last post. True, I’ve spent the last few months taking my interactive training online, but this post was already overdue before lockdown. Now, I have a copy to give away of the latest edition of the Oxford Guide to Plain...

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Clarity for court: Clarity breakfast on 7 November 2019

Our next Clarity breakfast is on Thursday 7 November 2019, from 8.00 to 9.30am in the City of London. The topic is Clarity for court and our speaker is Lady Justice Anne Rafferty, member of the Court of Appeal, former High Court judge and criminal barrister. She...

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Lawyers’ letters in client language

My latest article on writing to clients gives you: - A quick summary of what clients want from their lawyers' letters. - Four suggestions for key techniques to deliver what the clients want. - Examples from client care letters. The article focuses on clients who need...

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