February 5, 2009
Does Grammar Matter for Lawyers, Judges and Law Students?
Does it matter that the editors of thirty-three law journals, including those at Yale and Michigan, think that there is a “passive tense”? Does it matter that the United States Courts of Appeals for the Sixth and Eleventh Circuits think that there is a “passive mood”? Does it matter that the editors of fourteen law reviews think that there is a “subjunctive tense”? Does it matter that the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit thinks that there is a “subjunctive voice”? There is, in fact, no “passive tense” or “passive mood.” The passive is a voice. There is no “subjunctive voice” or “subjunctive tense.” The subjunctive is a mood. See Robert C. Farrell (Quinnipiac), Why Grammar Matters: Conjugating Verbs in Modern Legal Opinions.
Hat tip to James B. Levy (Nova), Legal Writing Prof Blog. [JH]
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