Antonin Scalia and Bryan Garner’s book, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, though short (clocking in at 206 pages of text, not including appendices) is a classic in the field of legal writing pedagogy. In the section on briefing, they include a chapter about preparatory steps. The first preparatory step is to read good prose. The second step, which I’ll focus on here, is to read and consult books on English grammar and usage. Here are the books Scalia and Garner recommend:
- Patricia T O’Connor, Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English
- Norman Lewis, Better English
- William Strunk and E.B. White, The Elements of Style
- H.W. Fowler, Modern English Usage (Scalia and Garner strongly prefer the second edition over the third)
- Bryan Garner, Garner’s Modern American Usage
- Bryan Garner, Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage
My favorite usage guides are Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss and Advanced Judicial Opinion Writing: A Handbook for New York State Trial and Appellate Courts (7.4 ed 2004), the latter of which is available for free download at SSRN.
What are your favorite grammar and usage guides?
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