Legal Writing – A company is an “it”

One of the easy-to-fix yet key issues I have seen in legal writing, both by native English speakers and Turkish lawyers, is referring to a company as “they.”  It is something we commonly do as we speak English even though it is incorrect. Referring to a company as “they” should definitely not be done in legal writing.  In fact, it should not be done in Business English of General English practice.

When speaking or writing about a company, consider these:

They – It

Their – Its

Theirself – Itself

Megan E. Boyd hosts a fabulous blog on legal writing, Lady (Legal) Writer, and discusses this issue in more detail.  Check out her post, A Company is an “It.”

Companies

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Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style – a great English writing resource!

First, let me apologize for now writing sooner.  I am in Turkey and within the past couple of weeks, both YouTube and Twitter were blocked by the government.  So if you re-tweeted my post, a big THANK YOU!  The ban caused me to be a little side-tracked.  But I am back!

I want to share with you one of my favorite resource books for written English, Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style.  This is a fabulous book to improve English writing skills, whether you are a beginner or an established writing veteran.

Strunk & White – The Elements of Style (photo courtesy of s4.hubimg.com)

Written in 1918, it is a prescriptive American English writing style guide comprising eight “elementary rules of usage”, ten “elementary principles of composition”, “a few matters of form”, a list of forty-nine “words and expressions commonly misused”, and a list of fifty-seven “words often misspelled”. In 2011, Time magazine listed The Elements of Style as one of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elements_of_Style

It is a short book and very easy to use.  For example, if you can’t remember where to place a comma, you would simply check the index and then follow to the corresponding page to find the usage rule and examples.

The best part about the book is that you no longer have to buy it.  The book is available for free online.  (I suppose because of the age of the book).

Below are a couple of links:

http://faculty.washington.edu/heagerty/Courses/b572/public/StrunkWhite.pdf

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/37134/37134-h/37134-h.htm

With practice, these rules will become easier for you – and of course – feel free to ask or comment if you have any questions!

Thanks for visiting ANKARA LEGAL ENGLISH!!