LawProse Lesson #149: “Further affiant sayeth naught”

LawProse Lesson #149: “Further affiant sayeth naught”

Further affiant sayeth naught. Many affidavits close with this classic legalese or some variation of it. Other than the obvious questions (“What does it mean?” and “Is it necessary?”), this phrase gives rise to two stylistic dilemmas. First, is it sayeth or saith? Among American lawyers who use the phrase (British lawyers don’t), sayeth predominates. Up to the 17th century, the –eth suffix was merely an alternative third-person singular inflection for an English verb (calleth, answereth, witnesseth, etc.). Used primarily in southern England, it had become obsolete by the end of the 17th century — and rightly so. Second, should it be naught or not? The predominant form is *Further affiant sayeth not. But this is nonsense because it translates to “The affiant says not further” or “The affiant does not say further.” Does not say what? By contrast, Further affiant sayeth naught makes literal sense: “The affiant says nothing further.” But here’s the most important question of all: Is the phrase really needed at all? No. It’s an antiquarian superfluity. Think of translating it as “That’s all, folks!” Truly, one might simply take the sensible approach that when the affiant (uh-fye-uhnt) hath nothing further to say, the affiant merely stoppeth. For further reading, see Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage 331, 383 (3d ed. 2011).

Live seminars this year with Professor Bryan A. Garner: Advanced Legal Writing & Editing

Attend the most popular CLE seminar of all time. More than 215,000 people—including lawyers, judges, law clerks, and paralegals—have benefited since the early 1990s. You'll learn the keys to professional writing and acquire no-nonsense techniques to make your letters, memos, and briefs more powerful.

You'll also learn what doesn't work and why—know-how gathered through Professor Garner's unique experience in training lawyers at the country's top law firms, state and federal courts, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies.

Professor Garner gives you the keys to make the most of your writing aptitude—in letters, memos, briefs, and more. The seminar covers five essential skills for persuasive writing:

  • framing issues that arrest the readers' attention;
  • cutting wordiness that wastes readers' time;
  • using transitions deftly to make your argument flow;
  • quoting authority more effectively; and
  • tackling your writing projects more efficiently.

He teaches dozens of techniques that make a big difference. Most important, he shows you what doesn't work—and why—and how to cultivate skillfulness.

Register to reserve your spot today.

Have you wanted to bring Professor Garner to teach your group? Contact us at for more information about in-house seminars.

Scroll to Top