Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: said, adj.

said, adj. Legal writers formerly used this word as a supposedly more precise equivalent of “the,” “this,” “that,” “these,” or “those.” But as lawyers have generally learned that it isn’t any more precise — and, indeed, that it can lead to various technical problems — the term has become much less frequent. Still, some writers use it for a mock-legal flavor — e.g.: o “If you call an invention, an idea, or a suggestion ‘practicable,’ you are voicing the opinion that said [read ‘the’] invention, idea, or suggestion can be translated from theory into actuality.” Norman Lewis, Better English 127 (rev. ed. 1961). o “A telephone Christmas is a much less stressful Christmas, especially if said [read ‘the’] phone is left off the hook.” Robert Kirby, “Christmas by Telephone Has a Nice Ring,” Salt Lake Trib., 2 Dec. 1997, at B1. As the edits suggest, you’re generally well advised to cut the legalese unless you’re being very much tongue-in-cheek — e.g.: “Any regular Joe who isn’t the boy toy of a fabulously rich ($800 million) pickle heiress could have gotten exactly the same consideration from City Hall if said Joe Sixpack had asked to have a fire hydrant outside his $2 million Beacon Hill mansion moved.” “Pols & Politics,” Boston Herald, 18 May 1997, at 31. For information about the Language-Change Index, click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “In the teaching of English, the effects of repression and apathy are doubly injurious: injurious to English considered scholastically, i.e. as a subject in a curriculum; and, through English, injurious both to every other subject in that or any other curriculum and to all thinking, to all mental apprehension, to all intellectual activity — hence, also, to all moral and spiritual life.” Eric Partridge, English: A Course for Human Beings 2 (1949).
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