Tuesday, April 19, 2005

"pursuant to"

I despise the phrase "pursuant to."

It's not evil or even really bad, but it is used almost exclusively by lawyers. So it's a phrase that says to the reader, "a lawyer wrote this." And I don't want that message to be a part of my writing. Granted that for most of my writing, the reader knows I'm a lawyer. Still, I dislike displaying the fact that way.

When I was practicing law, I worked for a lawyer who on occasion put "pursuant to" into a letter I had written. I did the first draft, and he revised it for his own signature, so he had the right to add "pursuant to." But it bothered me, and I developed a strong negative reaction to the phrase. It's not rational with me, I know.

I went so far as to banish it from my vocabulary in about 1991. I haven't used it since. And I criticize it in my books and writing whenever I can.

It does carry multiple meanings: "under" and "according to," will often be more precise.

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