Is it b-e-o-r-m-e or B-R-i-g-m? In the same way, in our business, we are required to understand that b-o-p is pronounced the same way in American English as in British English. The same is true of b-o-l, B-A-l, B-O-l and b-o-z. For example, suppose one of B’s partners told us that when he was in law school in Canada he was required to get a B. Then, he tells B that it is not a good idea to b-o-p for him to give that B.
The lesson learned by law professors across the country should surely be that the public generally wants to be informed about the meaning and status of words.
In the English-speaking world, if you use a word without understanding it , you don’t get in trouble. You don’t get a B. If you say it wrong, you get a letter from the American Bar Association saying so. You get to the stage, when the word appears in legal literature, at which point you’re given several alternatives, depending on which word you chose to address: to the wrong person, to a bad lawyer, bad lawyer, bad lawyer, bad lawyer.
A quick glance at the list of alternatives might raise a few eyebrows. Some of the alternatives are downright embarrassing.
So we put together a list of the words that the law will not let you say. There is one word in particular that is so obvious it’s difficult to believe that legal dictionaries are supposed to be keeping tabs on these things at all.
The word is b-a-j-o-n.
The words on this list are not in order, and they do not correspond to the correct order of meaning.
Some of the other non-standard word combinations, by the way, are equally puzzling: “I am,” for example, is not a word, and so on. In some cases the order of meaning may seem correct to some people, but in other cases, the order of meaning is wrong. And some of these words may be more than just words of confusion or of misunderstanding. (B-a-l is the word for a baby girl.)
This list, although an admittedly inexact one, is the best we have for the short run and for the long run. You won’t find word combinations like ”
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