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

§ 16. Avoid doublets and triplets.



Edit the following sentences to eliminate the redundancies without changing the meaning:

  • Licensee will perform the work in compliance with all applicable laws, rules, statutes, ordinances, and codes.
  • While the witness's truthfulness and veracity may be inquired into on cross-examination, it cannot be further challenged by the introduction of extrinsic evidence relating to matters not already in the record.
  • If the bailee fails, refrains, or refuses to perform any obligation under this agreement, the bailor may, at its option, perform the obligation of the bailee and charge to, bill, or otherwise recover from the bailee the cost of this performance.
  • Seller must cooperate with and assist Buyer in this process, without bearing the costs or expenses associated therewith.


Find two examples of doublets or triplets in your apartment lease, mortgage, car-loan agreement, or other personal contract. Suggest a revision that eliminates the redundancy without (in your opinion) changing the meaning. If you're part of a writing group or class, bring a copy of the before-and-after versions for each colleague.


In the literature on legal language, find at least three discussions of the origin and modern use of doublets and triplets. Write a short essay (1,000 to 1,500 words) reporting your findings.

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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