Pet phrases

Most of us have words and phrases that we overuse.

For example, I have a tendency to start sentences with ‘clearly’ when writing submissions: as in ‘Clearly my client is right and should win his case’.

This is not a good idea. Either something is clear or it isn’t. If it is, it doesn’t need saying. If it isn’t, suggesting that it is will hinder rather than help. Even if, occasionally, ‘clearly’ is useful, overusing it is distracting and annoying.

So, during the editing phase, I go through and take out most of the ‘clearly’s

Different people have different ticks. It is worth figuring out what yours are and keeping an eye on them.

3 Replies to “Pet phrases”

  1. I do the same with ‘very,’ ‘extremely,’ ‘most,’ ‘manifestly’ and ‘wholly.’ I may even – once – have had to delete ‘abundantly clear’ from something I had written.

  2. As long as the ‘pet phrases’ do not distract from the substance of one’s arguments, it’s not controversial to keep them in: some ET judgment’s are peppered with repeated phrases.

  3. I’m not sure they’re controversial, but I do think they’re a bad idea.

    Some tribunals do have their own pet phrases. But they don’t have to worry about persuading anyone of anything, so they can get away with it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *