SCOTUS and the Adverbial “Way”

Lowering the Bar is one of my favorite blogs. But since it deals primarily with legal humor, I don’t mention it much.

Yesterday, however, Kevin Underhill, the blogger and lawyer, posted a review of the history of the adverbial way in legal opinions. In a recent opinion, Justice Kagan wrote:

Moreover, Omnicare way overstates both the looseness of the inquiry Congress has mandated and the breadth of liability that approach threatens.

Underhill points out that this is not is not the first time Kagan has used the word in a Supreme Court opinion. Back in 2013 she wrote:

Amex has put Italian Colors to this choice: Spend way, way, way more money than your claim is worth, or relinquish your Sherman Act rights.

Lower courts have used way in this fashion since 1998, or 1992 if you count cases where the way was placed in quotation marks. And the OED records it in general usage back as far as 1941.

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National Grammar Day

I don’t celebrate National Grammar Day. I think the idea is silly and anathema to true language lovers, and I don’t think I’ve ever even mentioned it on this website before.

But Dennis Baron at the University of Illinois has a blog post that I think perfectly captures the true meaning of National Grammar Day.

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Early English Text Society

Here is a nice blog post about the 150th anniversary of the Early English Text Society. EETS publishes scholarly editions of Old and Middle English texts which are an invaluable resource to anyone studying medieval language and literature. (I just did a count, and I have seventeen EETS volumes on my shelves.) Without EETS most of these works would never be found outside of manuscripts held in a handful of libraries in Europe. The EETS web site is here.

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Grammatical Superpendantry

An excellent refutation of an all-too-common problem.

[Tip o’ the Hat to Languagehat]

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ADS Word of the Year: #blacklivesmatter

The American Dialect Society has voted on its Word of the Year for 2014, choosing the hashtag #blacklivesmatter, which became the rallying cry on Twitter and other social media outlets for those protesting the failure to obtain indictments against the police officers who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York. It is the first time the ADS has chosen a hashtag as its Word of the Year. The word hashtag itself was the society’s choice for 2012.

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