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

§ 14. Turn -ion words into verbs when you can.



Improve the following passages by changing all but one or two of the -ion words. Do any -ion words need to stay?

  • An interested party may make an application for a modification or revocation of an antidumping order (or termination of a suspension agreement) in conjunction with an annual administrative review. A revocation application will normally receive no consideration by the board unless there have been no sales at less than fair value for a period of at least three consecutive years.
  • In analyzing the ADA claim, the court noted that the decedent's termination and the reduction in AIDS benefits by the company occurred before the ADA became effective. Plaintiff nonetheless made the allegation that maintaining the limitation on AIDS benefits beyond the effective date of the ADA--in effect discrimination between plan members with AIDS and members without AIDS--constituted a violation of the general rule of Title I.
  • The determination that reasonable grounds exist for the revocation of parole should first be made by someone directly involved in the case. Yet we need make no assumptions in arriving at the conclusion that this preliminary evaluation, and any recommendations resulting therefrom, should be in the hands of someone not directly involved.


Edit the following sentences to reduce the number of words ending in -ion:

  • In the event of termination of this Agreement by Sponsor before expiration of the project period, Sponsor must pay all costs that the University has accrued as of the date of termination.
  • The federal district courts have discretion over supervision of the discovery process, the imposition of sanctions for discovery violations, and evidentiary rulings.
  • Although compliance with the terms of the Act should provide Hince some protection from state or local actions, the actual degree of protection remains uncertain because of the absence of any prior judicial interpretation of the Act.
  • Any violation of the terms of probation established by the Board will result in revocation of VanTech's authority to conduct itself as a public-utility operation.
  • In addition, the imposition of punitive damages here would be a violation of the constitutional provision containing the prohibition of ex post facto laws.


Find a paragraph in published legal writing with at least three -ion words that need editing. Retype the paragraph, with its citation, and then type your own revised passage below it. If you're a member of a writing group or class, bring a copy of your page for each colleague, and be prepared to discuss your work.


Research the literature on effective writing for additional support for eliminating -ion words. What are the various terms that writing authorities use for these words?

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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