Confusing Words of the Week

It’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words are:

rain – falling water.

The rain was pouring down.

rein – (n.) part of a bridle; (v.) to check; to stop.

It was time to rein in the committee members who had launched off onto a different topic.

reign – (n.) the term of a ruler’s power; a period during which power is exercised; (v.) to rule.

The reign of the chapter president is over.

Some hints to help remember are that to stop something–like a horse–is to rein them in (like the horse’s rein) while reign looks pretty royal to me with the silent “g.”

Confusing Words of the Week

It’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words are:

Interstate – Between states

Intrastate – Within one state

Intestate – Dying without a will

TIPS:

Interstate is between states, so you are entering (inter) different states as you travel through, while intrAstate is in the same state so you’re not entering other states, you are staying “In” the sAme state. Intestate means that it is going INto probate because there is no will.

ASK PTB – Naming An Amicus Curiae Brief

A reader used the Ask PTB page and asked “I’ve heard that the proper title for an amicus curiae brief is: ‘Brief Amicus Curiae for the Better Business Bureau’ (rather than ‘Amicus Curiae Brief for the Better Business Bureau’). Is that correct?”

In researching the issue, I assumed the question was about filing an amicus curiae brief in the United States Supreme Court. The short answer is that there is no standard.

Rule 37 of the Rules of Supreme Court of United States (“Supreme Court Rules”) sets forth the requirements for an amicus curiae brief to the U.S Supreme Court but doesn’t mention special requirements for naming the brief.

Here are examples of some of the titles of amicus curiae briefs I found:

  • Brief for an Amicus Curiae in Support of the Plaintiff, Petitioner, or Appellant, or in Support of Neither Party, on the Merits or in an Original Action at the Exceptions Stage
  • Brief for an Amicus Curiae in Support of the Defendant, Respondent, or Appellee, on the Merits or in an Original Action at the Exceptions Stage

There was mention that the requirements for the cover page of a Supreme Court brief are covered in Rule 34.1 of the Supreme Court Rules and it does apply to amicus curiae briefs. Those rules set forth that the cover page must specify whom the brief supports (e.g., the Brief of the Better Business Bureau as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner).

The American Bar Association has a Template for USSC Amicus Brief – No Motion on its website at https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publishing/preview/publiced_preview_briefs_pdfs_07_08_07_588_PetitionerAmCupacificlegal.authcheckdam.pdf. That template lists the title of the brief as “Brief Amicus Curiae of Pacific Legal Foundation in Support of Petitioners.”

On the National Association of Attorneys General website in an article entitled “U.S. Supreme Court Brief Writing Style Guide” (http://www.naag.org/publications/nagtri-journal/volume-1-number-2/u.s.-supreme-court-brief-writing-style-guide.php), the author indicates:

Multi-state amicus briefs are a bit trickier to name. Some begin, “Brief of [or for] the States of _____ as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioner [Respondent].” Others begin, “Brief of Amici Curiae States of _____ in Support of Petitioner [Respondent].” (The difference, for those of you who haven’t had your coffee yet, is the placement of the words “Amici Curiae.”) Either way is fine. Also, some multi-state amicus briefs list on the cover page the names of all the states that join the brief; others list only the name of the lead state, followed by the number of additional states that join (e.g., “Brief of Amici Curiae State of Michigan and 19 Other States in Support of Respondents”). Again, either way is fine, though I’m partial to the former approach.

So it appears to me that there is no specific requirement for how an amicus curiae brief is titled EXCEPT that it must specify the name of the amicus curiae parties and whom the brief supports.

I also contacted Cockle Legal Briefs (cocklelegalbriefs.com) which helps firms with U.S. Supreme Court and federal circuit court briefs to inquire as to their requirements for naming an amicus brief. They responded quickly and said that they didn’t believe that there is a required way to title the cover of an amicus brief. They attached samples for me that listed the amicus parties as:

  • BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE SOUTHEASTERN LEGAL FOUNDATION IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONER
  • MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF AND AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF OF ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN PHYSICIANS & SURGEONS, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PRO-LIFE OBSTETRICIANS & GYNECOLOGISTS, CHRISTIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, CATHOLIC MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC BIOETHICS CENTER, ALABAMA
    PHYSICIANS FOR LIFE, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PRO LIFE NURSES, AND NATIONAL
    ASSOCIATION OF CATHOLIC NURSES IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONERS
  • BRIEF OF PLANESENSE, INC. AND FLIGHT OPTIONS, LLC AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONER
  • MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE BRIEF AS AMICUS CURIAE AND BRIEF OF THE NATIONAL
    CONGRESS OF AMERICAN INDIANS AS AMICUS CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONERS

They said that basically, the amicus party for whom you are writing the brief needs to be mentioned and whether that party supports the petitioner or respondent.

The long answer to the question is that either of the examples the reader gave in their question is correct. Each state’s appellate rules should set out any specific requirements for amicus curiae briefs, so if you are looking for information on filing such a brief in a specific state or federal court, check those specific court rules for their requirements.

If you have a question for Proof That Blog, click the Ask PTB tab on proofthatblog.com and we’ll find an answer for you.

Confusing Words of the Week

It’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words are:

their – belonging to them. Their car was the red Lexus. (The red Lexus belonged to them.)

there – in that place. He placed his books there on that table. (He placed his books in that place.)

they’re – contraction of “they are.” They’re planning to go to the event on Saturday. (They are planning to go to the event on Saturday.)

Lots of people struggle with these.  If you can replace the word with “they are,” use they’re. If not, then it is either there or their. Does it belong to someone? Then use “their.” If it doesn’t belong to anyone and they are doesn’t make sense in its place, then it is probably “there.” Check it by asking if there is something in that place when you are putting it there.

 

Confusing Words of the Week

It’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words are:

principal: chief; leading; a capital sum of money that draws interest; chief official of a school

principle: a general truth; a rule; integrity

Helpers:

PrinciPAL is your PAL and has ALl the money

PrincipLE is a ruLE

Happy Blogiversary!

As hard as it is for me to believe, this labor of love has been going for five years today! What have I learned in those five years? 
1. That blogging isn’t easy.

2. That people actually read the blog.

3. That people around the world find Proof That blog by interesting Google searches.

4. That talking to people who read it and have ideas for topics is super rewarding.

5. That something I kind of started on a whim is now a passion.

For all those things, I thank you, my faithful readers. Thank you for reaching out with potential topics or with your own Grammar Giggles (and please keep them coming!). Thank you for stopping me when you see me at a conference or online to let me know you’re reading and getting something useful out if it. Most of all, thank you for continuing to read, for gently correcting me when I screw up, and for giving me faith that I just might be making a difference in this big ole world. 

So happy 5th blogiversary to everyone who has subscribed, stumbled upon, and shared this blog with others. You are why we keep doing what needs to get done. 

Confusing Words of the Week

It’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words are:

council – an assembly

counsel – (n) an attorney; advice; (v) to give advice

consul – a foreign representative

Helpers:

Council – reminds me of a City council so the “cIl” at the end could stand for “cIty” to remind you an assembly is “council.”

Counsel – an easy (although perhaps inappropriate) way to remember this one is that an attorney “sel”ls his or her advice.

 

Song Lyric Grammar Errors . . . or Not?

Apparently the Princeton Review (which helps US students prepare for college admission tests) had an example of “Grammar in Real Life” using some song lyrics for students to find the errors. One of those examples was Taylor Swift’s song Fifteen. The Princeton Review said the lyric read “Somebody tells you they love you, you got to believe ’em.” A Swift fan was upset and posted a copy of the test page online. Taylor herself replied that they got the lyric wrong “Not the right lyrics at all pssshhhh. You had one job, test people. One job.” and that the correct lyric was “Somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe them.” Princeton Review owned up to that error, but posted that the revised line still had a grammar error because “somebody” can’t later be referred to as “them.” “If we look at the whole sentence, it starts off with ‘somebody,’ and ‘somebody,’ as you know, is a singular pronoun and if it’s singular, the rest of the sentence has to be singular.” They apparently forgot, however, that “them” is a gender-neutral, singular pronoun that has been used that way since the 16th Century. So that sentence is actually grammatically correct. Go Taylor!

The same Princeton Review test referenced a Lady Gaga song saying the lyric “You and me could write a bad romance” is grammatically incorrect. OK, you’re correct there. In formal writing, it should be “you and I” EXCEPT song lyrics are not formal writing and “you and me” is what people say all the time, so it is acceptable in what we will call “musical speech.” Go Gaga!

It is admirable for Princeton Review to attempt to test grammar using real life examples, but they need to make sure their answer is correct first.

Confusing Words of the Week

It’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use Ask PTB or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words:

Wangle – to get by devious means

  • Joe was trying to wangle an invitation to the party.

Wrangle – to bicker; to herd horses

  • It seems that politicians love nothing more than to wrangle with opponents.

Tip to help remember–Wrangle (with an “R”) means to “bickeR” or to “heRd hoRses.” The definition of “wangle” does not contain an “R.”

Ask PTB – Capitalization

Question: Is it his case number 30-100 or his Case Number 30-100?

Answer: First, thanks for asking the question. According to Gregg, a noun followed by a number or letter that indicates sequence is capitalized. I think since you are describing a specific case with the sequenced number, it is capitalized. If it just said “his case,” then it wouldn’t be capitalized, but it is like saying “his Mercedes Benz” rather than “his car.”

I hope that helps! And if any readers have questions, check out the Ask PTB page on the website proofthatblog.com.