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Can You Recognize When A Court Opines, Asserts or Declares?

by Carolyn Elefant on October 7, 2005 · 0 comments

in Legal Research and Writing

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This article, Curb Your Editorial Urges When Describing a Court’s Actions, Kenneth Oettle (NJLJ) (10/5/050)  finally clarified for me the subtle differences in verbs like recognized, observed, ruled, held and others that describe how a court acted.  As a general rule of thumb, here’s how the author feels about some of these verbs:

    Affirmed — double meaning

    * Asserted — too forceful; Court has no need to assert

    * Averred — word is rarely used

    * Declared — grandiose

    * Explained — didn’t, really

    * Opined — true, but probably too formal

    * Remarked — too casual 

So, just another thing to obsess over in writing a brief.

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