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    Tense usage

    Below are extracts from a company's articles of association. The tense is mostly present, as used for statements of fact, but often the writer slips into the past tense and I'm not sure whether I'm right to correct him. Is the past tense in the bold below correct (or passable - I'm happy if it...
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    ; or : and why?

    The sentence is taken from a response I made to a posting: "The 'matter' is whatever is at issue[:][;] for example, the matter could be a dispute between two parties." I used to write ';' where 'for example' links clauses, but I've recently been converted to ':'. Maybe I should just cop out...
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    "second largest employer after agriculture"

    I'm correct in thinking this should read "the largest employer after agriculture', aren't I?
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    Infinitive usage: is this acceptable?

    'This document is not required to, and does not, contain all information.' or does 'contain' serve two functions which should be distinguished, at least in formal English (in this case, a legal document), so: 'This document is not required to contain, and does not contain, all information.'
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    Not ... nor

    From The Guardian newspaper: "Collaboration can't overcome basic weaknesses in individual councils, nor stop them bringing forward badly designed projects." Is this is a double negative? Should it read: "Collaboration can't overcome basic weaknesses in individual councils, or stop them...
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    Present Perfect or Past Simple?

    "Joe Bloggs [has recently relocated/recently located] to Tokyo from Shanghai, where he was the managing partner of ABC's China offices for 7 years." My view is that if the main clause was a stand-alone sentence, the present perfect would be fine, so: 'Joe Bloggs [has] recently relocated to...
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    'in light of' or 'in the light of'?

    I am in the process of compiling a list of common errors/inconsistencies made by native English lawyers at the law firm I work, with a view to putting them up on the proofreading department's intranet page. I have just sent an email to all my colleagues to ask what their pet annoyances are. One...
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    replaced by or replaced with

    'The current rules will be replaced by a new procedure.' I would have said 'with', and 'by' if followed by an active agent (ie whoever is doing the replacing). What do you think? Is 'by' here possible or at least passable (given I don't want my lawyer-clients thinking I'm being too pedantic)...
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    italics added

    When you write 'italics added' (or 'bold added for emphasis' or similar) after quoted text, must it be in square brackets? And where should it be inserted: xxx." [italics added] OR xxx [italics added]." and if quote marks are before the full-stop (eg with quoted text but not whole...
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    Is 'those' acceptable here?

    'Remember that most sales are transfers as a going concern and no VAT is payable anyway. In those situations you do not need to worry about ...' In the past, I would have corrected to 'these' but I'm starting to think that maybe I overmark when I proofread legal documents. What do you think...
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    Is 'which are' needed after companies for balance?

    'Companies in the business of receiving deposits from the general public and which grant loans must be licensed as banks.' I often see structures like this in the documents I proofread. Do you think 'Companies which are ...' is needed for balance or is the above acceptable?
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    neither ... nor ... nor

    Which is correct or your preference, bearing in mind I can't reword to eg 'None of ...'? 1. Neither X or any other supplier, nor Y [shall respond directly to such requests] 2. Neither X or any other supplier nor Y ... 3. Neither X, nor any other supplier, nor Y ... 4. Neither X nor any other...
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    so ... as OK?

    "mandatory injunctions are not so readily granted as prohibitory injunctions"? normally 'as ... as' but is 'so ... as' OK? Thanks
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    colon or semi-colon?

    Any idea in the following? I'm favouring the semi-colon; the lawyer, the colon. "That can mean moving quickly: the reason that the UK government had to settle for damages in Party X v Party Y is that it had not moved sufficiently quickly to obtain an injunction." Thanks, all!
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    The redundant comma?

    Why use a comma if the sense is clear without[,] and the comma doesn't in any affect how you read a piece of text (intonation, pauses[,] etc)? I'm asking this because in another thread I've been discussing ', which' non-restrictive relative clauses. If these are unambiguous[,] why do we need a...
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    comma or no comma

    Which is correct? The French Ministry of State for Foreign Trade, Anne-Marie Idrac, acknowledged that ... or comma in first instance or no commas at all? Or is it a case of preference? (PS: I know it would be 2 commas if the person's name came first.) If 2 commas, you would then say...
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    'It was the first or one of the first' + plural?

    eg It was the first or one of the first books to be published or It was the first book, or one of the first books, to be published The first example sounds more natural to me in speech. The second more grammatically correct and so what I'd actually write in more formal English. Any thoughts?
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    When is 'next Thursday'?

    If it's Sunday and I say 'I'm meeting her next Thursday', do you understand this to mean 'this Thursday' or 'a week on Thursday'? And what if it's Monday? And do you think all native speakers would be clear what is meant?
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    plural with 'is'?

    I've just picked up the Guardian and read this: 'Ashley Cole's pace and attack down the flank is key' Fine? Should be 'are'? Either, with slightly different meanings?
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    [Grammar] How would you punctuate the answer to the question?

    What would you be if you weren't a lawyer? I would be an illustrator, I love drawing. Or a coach, since I have a natural interest in people; what motivates them, makes them sad, mad or glad. NB: Punctuation as in the original; wording can't be change. Thanks Bertie
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