From The Jolly Contrarian
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Towards more picturesque speech

I jam, therefore I am.

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

Index — Click ᐅ to expand:

Get in touch
Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Requests? Sign up for our newsletter? Questions? We’d love to hear from you.
BREAKING: Get the new weekly newsletter here Old editions here

The verb you use when “to be” — the foundational verb of the English language — the very bedrock from which Descartes derived our existence as intellectual beings — won’t do.

Usage: if you really feel the need to state the negative, and something like “this is not financial advice” seems insufficiently portentous, try “this material shall not constitute, or be deemed to constitute, financial advice.”

The present indicative form of the verb be must be the most rudimentary expression of meaning in the English language. It is only right that legal eagles should bastardise it. As René Descarteslegal team is rumoured to have said,[1] “I shall for the time being, be engaged in cognitive activity; as a direct consequence thereof, I shall be deemed constituted.”

See also


  1. They didn’t. I just made this up.