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Exercises from LEGAL WRITING IN PLAIN ENGLISH, Bryan A. Garner

§ 25. Bridge between paragraphs.

Exercises

Basic

The following sentences are consecutive paragraph openers from Lawrence Friedman's Crime and Punishment in American History (1993). Identify the bridging words, as well as the bridging method (pointing word, echo link, explicit connective), in each paragraph opener, beginning with the second. Remember that each of these paragraph openers is followed by several other sentences in the paragraph. You're not trying to link the sentences listed; rather, you're trying to spot words in each paragraph opener that relate explicitly to what must have come at the end of the preceding paragraph.

  1. The automobile made its first appearance on the streets, for all practical purposes, in the first decade of this century.
  2. By 1940, the United States had become an automobile society.
  3. The numbers have continued to rise, as automobiles choke the roads and highways, and millions of people, living in the land of suburban sprawl, use the automobile as their lifeline--connecting them to work, shopping, and the outside world in general.
  4. Thus, a person who parks overtime and gets a "ticket" will get an order to appear in court and face the music.
  5. In many localities, traffic matters got handled by municipal courts, police courts, justices of the peace, and sometimes specialized departments of a municipal court.
  6. The traffic court judge, as one would expect, did not have the prestige and dignity of a higher-grade judge.
  7. The root of this evil was, perhaps, the fact that defendants did not--and do not--see themselves as criminals, but rather as unlucky people who got caught breaking a rule that everybody breaks once in a while.
  8. This attitude came to the surface in a 1958 American Bar Association report on traffic matters in Oklahoma.

Intermediate

In published legal writing, find an exemplary passage (four pages or so) illustrating good bridges. At the outset of each paragraph, box the bridging word or words. If you're part of a writing group or class, bring a copy for each colleague, provide the full citation on each copy, and be prepared to discuss your findings.

Advanced

In published legal writing, find a passage (four pages or so) illustrating an absence of bridges. Either add a bridge where needed or else explain in the margin why the problem isn't fixable by an editor. If you're part of a writing group or class, bring a copy for each colleague, provide the full citation on each copy, and be prepared to discuss 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 www.press.uchicago.edu.


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