The University of Chicago Press,
Exercises from LEGAL WRITING IN PLAIN ENGLISH, Bryan A. Garner

§ 11. End sentences emphatically.



Rewrite the following passages to make the sentence endings more emphatic:

  • This Court dismissed the whistleblower claims against the Governor on August 27 in response to the Governor's Plea to the Jurisdiction.
  • The right to stop the work is the single most important factor in determining whether a party is in charge of the work within the meaning of the Act.
  • The Commission is not in a position to provide additional affidavits and other evidence to support its contention that Bulworth and Islington are an integrated enterprise at this time.
  • The court may authorize a preappearance interview between the interpreter and the party or witness if it finds good cause.
  • Silver Sidings contends that it had no control over the hazardous substance released to create the emergency, and that the Department of Natural Resources therefore has no jurisdiction over Silver Sidings under the Spill Bill (see § 260.510, RSMo 1994). In fact, Silver Sidings owned the property where the release occurred, owned the underground storage tanks from which the hazardous substance was released, permitted the hazardous substances to be stored in its tanks on its property, and had every right as a landowner to control how its land and tanks were used--all relevant factors under the Spill Bill. Thus, Silver Sidings is "a person having control over a hazardous substance involved in a hazardous-substance emergency" within the meaning of the Spill Bill.


Find a journalist's article in which the last word in the article is especially arresting. Be prepared to explain why.


In published legal writing, find a paragraph in which the sentence endings are unemphatic. Rewrite the paragraph to spruce it up.


In the literature on effective writing, find support for the idea that sentences should end emphatically. If you belong to a writing group or class, prepare a page with at least three quotations to this effect. Provide full citations to your sources.

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© 2001, Bryan A. Garner

These exercises appear in Bryan A. Garner's Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text with Exercises, published by The University of Chicago Press and available at bookstores and on the Web at