sabato 14 gennaio 2012

Writing in Plain English for lawyers _ LESSON 3

Omit superfluous words
Words are superfluous when they can be replaced with fewer words that mean the same thing. Sometimes you can use a simpler word for these phrases:

superfluous                                          simpler
in order to                                  to
in the event that                         if
subsequent to                             after
prior to                                      before
despite the fact that                   although
because of the fact that              because, since
in light of                                   because, since
owing to the fact that                 because, since

Another source of superfluous words is “shotgunning”: letting loose a blast of words hoping at least one conveys your intended meaning. The simplest solution here is to replace your laundry list of adjectives with a single word or phrase that adequately expresses your intended meaning.
Omitting superfluous words is one of the easiest ways to improve your disclosure document because it doesn’t require you to revise sentence structure.
The following summary is intended only to highlight certain infor­mation contained elsewhere in this Prospectus.
This summary highlights some information from this Prospectus.
Machine Industries and Great Tools, Inc. are each subject to the information requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), and in accordance therewith file reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”).
We file annual, quarterly, and special reports, proxy statements, and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Drakecorp has filed with the Internal Revenue Service a tax ruling request concerning, among other things, the tax consequences of the Distribution to the United States holders of Drakecorp Stock. It is expected that the Distribution of Beco Common Stock to the shareholders of Drakecorp will be tax-free to such shareholders for federal income tax purposes, except to the extent that cash is received for fractional share interests.

While we expect that this transaction will be tax free for U.S. shareholders at the federal level (except for any cash paid for fractional shares), we have asked the Internal Revenue Service to rule that it is.
Write in the “positive”

Positive sentences are shorter and easier to understand than their negative counterparts. For example:
Persons other than the primary beneficiary may not receive these dividends.

Only the primary beneficiary may receive these dividends.
Also, your sentences will be shorter and easier to understand if you replace a negative phrase with a single word that means the same thing. For example:

negative compound                         single word
not able                                            unable
not accept                                        reject
not certain                                        uncertain
not unlike                                         similar, alike
does not have                                   lacks
does not include                               excludes, omits
not many                                         few
not often                                          rarely
not the same                                    different
not ... unless                                    only if
not ... except                                    only if
not ... until                                       only when

[By the Office of Investor Education and Assistance
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
450 5th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20549]