Question of the Week

What's the word you're most worried about mispronouncing?

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Law books are full of words we rarely speak. Even if they studied Latin in school, litigators can be unsure how to pronounce nisi prius, ratio decidendi and sine die, to name three troublesome phrases Bryan A. Garner cites in A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage.

Legal Latin is not the only courtroom language that sends lawyers to the dictionary. Case names and place names can be confounding. And the ABA Journal recently noted that Justice Elena Kagan in oral arguments cited an “antecedent” clause and pronounced the word as “an-TESS-a-dent.” Ann O’Connell of the Solicitor General’s office opted to carry on pronouncing antecedent more conventionally as “ant-a-SEED-ent.”

This week we ask: What’s the word you’re most afraid of mispronouncing? And if the judge does not use the standard pronunciation, which precedent do you follow?

Answer in the comments.

Read the responses to our last question: Have you taken a bar exam in more than one state?

Featured answer:

Posted by LarieBee: “I took and passed the entire Michigan bar exam in 2013 and the entire Illinois bar exam in 2016. Michigan’s covered more topic areas and truly focused on state specific law, while Illinois’ was quite general, even in the essays. For these reasons, Michigan’s was more difficult, even factoring in the experience I gained while clerking for a Michigan state court prior to taking Illinois’ exam.”

Do you have an idea for a question of the week? If so, contact us.

Updated April 26 to correctly spell nisi prius.

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