Reading the dictionary

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Swimp
Posts: 493
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 9:32 am

Reading the dictionary

Postby Swimp » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:00 pm

Okay. This is going to elicit some groans, I think, but here we go:

I really like Bryan Garner's usage dictionary, Modern American Usage. I bought it and read it for fun. Weird, yes, I know. I swear you would not guess that this is the sort of thing I would do if you met me.

Anyway, given that I'm heading to law school next fall and he also edits Black's, I sort of want to buy that and just peruse it. Is there any reason for me not to do this? Aside from inviting wedgies, I mean. I'm thinking specifically of the common admonishment against "teaching yourself the law" with supplements over the summer. I don't want to get into any habits of analysis that conflict with my future professors' agendas, but a dictionary should be pretty free of ideology, right?

mr.hands
Posts: 892
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:23 pm

Re: Reading the dictionary

Postby mr.hands » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:09 pm

This will have zero usefulness. Even if you did remember any of it when you got to 1L (which you wont), it wouldn't give you an advantage. It takes 10 seconds to look something up online.

This is just a waste of time, probably even less useful than reading E&Es

Swimp
Posts: 493
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 9:32 am

Re: Reading the dictionary

Postby Swimp » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:52 pm

mr.hands wrote:This will have zero usefulness. Even if you did remember any of it when you got to 1L (which you wont), it wouldn't give you an advantage. It takes 10 seconds to look something up online.

This is just a waste of time, probably even less useful than reading E&Es


Just to be clear, I wouldn't expect that this would be useful as prep for classes. It's just something I'm interested in and I wondered whether it would be a disadvantage in any way, for the reason I mentioned, or for any other reason.

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gobuffs10
Posts: 241
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:20 am

Re: Reading the dictionary

Postby gobuffs10 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:13 pm

Swimp wrote:
mr.hands wrote:This will have zero usefulness. Even if you did remember any of it when you got to 1L (which you wont), it wouldn't give you an advantage. It takes 10 seconds to look something up online.

This is just a waste of time, probably even less useful than reading E&Es


Just to be clear, I wouldn't expect that this would be useful as prep for classes. It's just something I'm interested in and I wondered whether it would be a disadvantage in any way, for the reason I mentioned, or for any other reason.


Garner has other books on legal writing and usage which are structured more like Modern American Usage. I'd recommend those instead. Legal Writing in Plain English, for one, is a quick read, and he also has a short one called The Elements of Legal Style. Those will be more useful because they may actually help your writing, and they're enjoyable reads. If you absolutely must, then get his Dictionary of Legal Usage, which is the equivalent of Modern American Usage.

I bought a pocket Black's to bring to class, and it's fairly useless. West has Black's built in, and sometimes the NOLO dictionary is preferable anyway because it's easier to understand.

It won't hurt you, but it will be a tremendous waste of time. You only read dictionaries if they're structured like Modern American Usage or Fowler's. Black's is structured, well, like an ordinary dictionary.

Swimp
Posts: 493
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 9:32 am

Re: Reading the dictionary

Postby Swimp » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:02 am

Thanks, that seems like good advice. I hadn't heard of the other Garner books you mentioned--I'll check hem out and see what's closest to what I had in mind.




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