September 12, 2006 at 7:10 PM
An article in the September 8th Chronicle of Higher Education lists the "Seven Deadly Sins of Student Writers." It is written by Ben Yagoda, Professor of English at the University of Delaware and the author of a forthcoming book entitled When you catch an adjective, kill it. Law students might also be interested in what he has to say about dangling modifiers, punctuation, spell-check errors, etc.
He notes in his conclusion, "Reading a lot is the only way to get a deep-seated understanding of the way punctuation is meant to be used, of spelling, of the construction of complex sentences, and of the meaning of the words that you might use in your own writing. Skilled writers profit from a continuously looping, subliminal soundtrack of all the sentences they’ve ever read." This may be an unexpected benefit of all the reading that the average law student is expected to complete each week: a full soundtrack to draw on when writing legal briefs and memoranda.
The Chronicle of Higher Education is available on Lexis (NEWS;CHEDUC) and Westlaw (CHONHIGHED).