Or any part thereof

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Towards more picturesque speech

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Counselor

George Orwell on plain English | SEC guidance on plain English Plain English Anatomy Noun | Verb | Adjective | Adverb | Preposition | Conjunction | Latin | Germany | Flannel | Legal triplicate | Nominalisation | Murder your darlings

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Or any part thereof is a piece of flannel perfect for wiping clean the face of just the kind of cherub who would never get his little boat-race grubby in the first place. You know the kind: butter wouldn’t melt in his jumped-up little gob.

When it comes to face-washing, you may need a flannel, but to state it baldly and without qualification omits the undeniable fact you may not need the whole thing.

Now, as pathologically as they abhor elegance, legal eagles deplore a vacuum, and if you’re the sort who believes that a sum does not include each of its parts taken individually, this work-a-day expression is perfect for the pregnant pause you might otherwise have in your draft.

It is also a satisfying way of “improving” the drafting of the sort of pernickety counselor who has been aggravating a negotiation process with leaden augmentations. We all know one[1]. However pedantic your adversary may be, in a long document he will be bound to have missed a simple construction somewhere. It is a cinch to find it. And then, here is your slam dunk, your dead fish shot in a barrel — with this harmless unguent, you can at last have one over this cretinous fellow, appending it in the privacy of your own chambers with the lawyer’s flourish that, in other fields of endeavour, invites the expression “IN YOUR FACE”, prompts a footballer’s swept-back wing fighter-jet impersonation or knee-slide to the corner flag, enables a baseballer’s serial high-five as he ambles past the dug-out, or a wide receiver’s flamboyant pimp-roll round the end-zone as he awaits his team mates’ acclamation.

See also


  1. Dammit we all know THOUSANDS.