We simply need cuneiform heretoforeunders owing to tricky pips

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A WORD IN THE HAND: LEGALESE

We simply need cuneiform heretoforeunders owing to tricky pips

A column to satisfy your inner grammar nerd

Deputy features editor: Sunday Times

Lawyers are the butt of many jokes, which if you ask me is not always entirely fair. I’m not sure why this antipathy exists. I don’t think it’s because they charge an hour’s consultation fee even for a one-line WhatsApp to ask how many sugars you take in your tea. I think it’s mostly because of the strange language they speak.

According to Ethnologue, there are more than 7,000 distinct living languages in the world. That’s not counting legalese, the one that arguably causes the most trouble.

There are two major problems with legalese. The first is that, because it sometimes bears a passing resemblance to another language (for the purposes of this column, let us call that language English), speakers of that language are expected to be able to understand it. But we don’t. ..

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