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Using Adverbs Recklessly Can Hurt Your Appeal And Vex The Courts, by Debra Cassens Weiss, American Bar Journal – Appellate Practice (with hat tip to William P. Statsky)


Adverbs can be a boon and a bane to lawyers who argue over the meaning of words such as ‘knowingly,’ ‘intentionally’ and ‘recklessly’ and sprinkle them throughout their briefs.

Indeed, the number of disputes over how to interpret adverbs in criminal statutes has surged since the 1980s, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports, citing research by Brooklyn Law School professor Lawrence Solan. But losing an argument over statutory construction isn’t the only downside to adverbs. . . .