Monday, August 31, 2009

The Basics of Writing Statutes

The beginning Law Writer requires the proper tools at all times, but must have already mastered English grammar. Impeccable grammar is required to adhere to the rules of the language and to understand when and how to break those rules well.

Strunk & White, The Elements of Style, Any Edition, is a MUST. You shall get a copy and read it thoroughly if you want to write "good" law. No ad, just fact. [More on must vs shall later.]

I use the 3rd Edition, myself. Cost $7.95 in 1979. That fact, however, has nothing to do with my age. The "new rules" featured in that edition covered the use of the colon, the use of the dash, agreement of subjects and verbs, and correct pronoun case. Riveting, my dear reader, simply riveting. More tomorrow on the grammatical and style foundations for legislative drafting.

By the way, this is my play time, so do not expect perfect grammar in this blog.